Foss River Rock
Cascade Range, Washington

Gentle waves of mist swirled through the ragged crowns of the giant conifers sloping up from the river. The damp air was fragrant with the smell of plants, and cool, condensed drops of water washed over my arms as I brushed through the undergrowth. High above, moving in and out of foggy diffusion, a dark castle of jagged silhouettes punctuated the borders of a mysterious alpine domain. Just up from my path was a huge band of dirty, compacted snow. I climbed up one side and saw that it was the runout of a deeply gouged slide path splitting the valley’s western slope. Large rocks were embedded into the snow and the shattered remains of exploded trees laid all around me. A bulbous mound of stones and rubble flowed out below the snow and into the water, forming a rapid where the river patiently cut it’s way through.

On the east bank, emerging through a layered gown of lush vegetation, an enormous block of rock rose above the water. So prevalent was the greenery around it that the rock itself appeared to radiate a greenish glow. Small ferns clung in the jointed recesses, and mosses and brilliant yellow lichens spread across a face broken dramatically by the sheared, angular lines of it’s relief. The sight was compellingly beautiful, and sent me in search of an image that would declare that beauty.


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