The lookout at Christoff Peak is gone, but the views live on.


We come to a place

Where trails die

Where alder is king

And brush hides the Emperors Throne

From those who don’t know the way.

We start from the bottom

Of the mountain

On a road that has no name

Except to the men

Who knew these roads by heart,

Who tried and failed

To break the mountain but

The alders always came back

And the money was spent in bars.

Thistles and daisies


Roads so overgrown

That we break the tips of alder branches

To mark our way

Below bleached landings

Where timber was never hauled away

Where views of Mount Rainier begin

And bones of small animals

Pondered, a jawbone taken home

The only piece

Of the mountain we carry away.

We find

Our way to the summit

Through meadows

Thick with Indian paintbrush, lupine and asters

Tiger lilies glow

Like Tiffany lamps

In the gloom of

Old-growth forest.

In these dry days

We play Hide and Seek

With Time;

Though birthdays loom and

There is danger ahead

We rest on the mountain

As if we meant to stay.

Karen Sykes (late August, 2011)

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