Day Out of Time Gathering on Mount Rainier

Although postponed by a couple of days to accommodate attendance at the Romp Naked event in Seattle on July 22, the “Two Spirit Day Out of Time” gathering took place from July 23-26 on Mount Rainier. Sierra, who works as a ranger at the Sunrise Camp on Mount Rainier, issued the call and dealt with logistics, and Franz prepared healthy organic food and Julie Andrews “Sound of Music” inspired art for the gathering. The pictures below come from the cameras of many of those who attended the gathering.

Kirby Peace Sign at White River Camping Site, Mount Rainier Mugwort at White River Campsite on Mount Rainier

Kirby (pic above) took a bit of a leap by driving up with Sierra and Franz for the gathering while still on crutches! I hitched a ride from Mugwort (above), who also shared a campsite where we both pitched our tents. Thanks to my dad for loaning me a tent so I didn’t have to cart one up on the plane from San Francisco.

Grandmother Rainier Towering Above the Pines

My first view of Mount Rainier after two years stunned me. Grandmother Rainier–as Fruitboy has dubbed her–radiates beauty.

Distant Peak Behind Magnificent Valley Near Mount Rainier Mugwort, Kirby, and Franz at Mount Rainier Lookout Snowy Peaks Near Mount Rainier

Mugwort, Kirby, Dazzle, Tusk, and I admired the landscape at the lookout point on the way up from the White River campground to the Sunrise Camp, which is the highest altitude point on a highway in the state of Washington, according to Ranger Sierra.

More Snowy Peaks Near Mount Rainier Tusk, Mugwort, Dazzle, Franz, and Kirby at Mount Rainier Outlook Dazzle, Mugwort, Franz, Kirby, and Tusk at Mount Rainier Outlook

The greenery provided an amazing contrast to the mountain, snow-covered even in mid-summer.

Grandmother Rainier Nestled Among the Pines Grandmother Rainier Nestled Among the Pines II Fruitboy and Kirby at Sunrise Camp Employee Residence on Mount Rainier

Much of the gathering took place at the Sunrise Camp employee living quarters, the home for Sierra and other rangers and interns during the season when Sunrise Camp is open to visitors.

Stardust With Grandmother Rainier at Sunrise Camp on Mount Rainier Stardust and Fruitboy With Grandmother Rainier at Sunrise Camp Stardust, Fruitboy, and Don With Grandmother Rainier at Sunrise Camp

Sierra can see a great view of Mount Rainier, similar to this one above, from his bedroom window.

Lodge and Lot at Sunrise Camp on Mount Rainier Visitor Center and Employee Residences at Sunrise Camp on Mount Rainier Mount Rainier With Glacier View

Sunrise Camp consists of a lodge with a snack bar for visitors and the Visitor Center and employee living quarters. You can’t beat the views from Sunrise.

The first evening Mugwort and I arrived a bit late. After setting up our tents at the White River campsite that Dazzle and Tusk saved for us, we drove up to the Sunrise Camp and found Kirby and Franz chatting near the entrance to the employee residence building with the great view of Mount Rainier. Franz said he’d pull some dinner together for us in a bit, so Mugwort and I hiked a bit up the trail toward Dege Peak and had a look over the other side of the ridge at a beautiful rock slide canyon with a sunset on a multilayered mountain horizon that took my breath away.

After dinner, we were exhausted and went back to the campsite for an early night. I was fighting off a nasty cold, but the next morning I decided to accompany the group on the planned hike to the Burroughs Peaks, thinking I would turn back after reaching the summit of Burroughs Peak I, while the group continued on to Burroughs II and III.

Mountain Stream on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks of Mount Rainier Indian Paintbrush Flowers on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks of Mount Rainier Glacier Lake on Mount Rainier

After hiking past a mountain stream and lots of beautiful flowers like the Indian Paintbrush above, we saw spectacular views of glacial lakes and snowy mountain peaks on the way up to the Burroughs Peaks.

Mount Rainier Peak From Lower Trail to Burroughs Nearing Treeline on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks on Mount Rainier Glacial Flow From Mount Rainier

At an overlook point, we got a good look at the glacier we would visit the following day. Plus, we saw some Bear Flowers.

Dazzle, Mugwort, Sierra, and Tusk on Burroughs Trail Outlook of Mount Rainier Magical Alabaster Ice Cavern at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Bear Flowers on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks on Mount Rainier

Part of the trail was on rock slides and Sierra led us fearlessly upward.

Rock Slide on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks on Mount Rainier Sierra With Grandmother Rainier on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks The Snowy Immensity of Grandmother Rainier

The summit of Burroughs Peak I is large and flat, kind of a moonscape.

Rock Slide on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks on Mount Rainier View of Mount Rainier Peak from Burroughs Peak I Sierra on the Path from Burroughs Peak I to Burroughs Peak II

We got some great views of the Mount Rainier summit and saw patches of snow all around us.

Mount Rainier Peak View From Burroughs Peak View of Another Peak From Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier Don on Burroughs Peak I of Mount Rainier

Burroughs Peak I affords a good peek at Burroughs Peak II, and after some persuasion by Sierra, I decided to continue on to the second peak.

Sierra Prepping Photo Shoot on Burroughs Peak I of Mount Rainier Rock Slide on Approach to Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier Don on Burroughs Peak I With Outlook to Burroughs Peak II and Mount Rainier Summit

We could see down into Berkeley Park, home of the amazing wildflowers, from the trail between Burroughs Peaks I and II.

Berkeley Park View From Burroughs Peak I on Mount Rainier Trail From Burroughs Peak I to Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier Snow on Trail From Burroughs Peak I to Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier

We crossed our first snow on the trail at that point too.

More Snow on Trail From Burroughs Peak I to Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier View of Mount Rainier Summit From Burroughs Peak II View of Another Peak From Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier

The views from Burroughs Peak II were also spectacular.

Sierra Piling Rocks on Burroughs Peak II With Mount Rainier Summit in Background View From Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier View of Mount Rainier Glacier From Burroughs Peak II

The Hills Are Alive… with Fruitboy on Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier.

The Hills Are Alive... With Fruitboy on Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier Fruitboy in Dress on Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier Fruitboy in Dress on Burroughs Peak II With Mount Rainier Summit in Background

In the distance was a snowy lake that may be a reservoir.

Fruitboy in Dress and Tusk in Sarong on Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier Fruitboy in Dress Takes It All In on Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier Snowy Lake From Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier

After Burroughs Peak II, I headed back down while the others continued onward to Burroughs Peak III.

Rock Slide on Descent From Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier Flat Landscape at Burroughs Peak II Summit on Mount Rainier View From Burroughs Peak I on Mount Rainier

I was quite exhausted on the way home, due to my cold, but still enjoyed pine groves and flowery meadows while hiking.

Pines Around Flowery Meadow on Trail Back to Sunrise Camp of Mount Rainier Flowery Meadow on Trail Near Sunrise Camp on Mount Rainier Kirby, Masked Tusk, Dazzle, Fruitboy, Hidden Franz, and Sierra at White River Campsite on Mount Rainier

We met again at the White River campsite the following morning for a hike to the ice cave at the base of the glacier we had seen the day before. Kirby held down the fort at the camp due to his broken leg.

Devils Club Plant on Glacier Trail of Mount Rainier Deer on Glacier Trail of Mount Rainier Mountain Stream on Glacier Trail of Mount Rainier
On the glacier trail, we saw Devil’s Club plants, a deer, and some amazing mountain streams and lakes. The lakes were cloudy due to deposits from the glacier.

Roaring Stream on Glacier Trail of Mount Rainier Glacial Lake From Glacier Trail on Mount Rainier View of Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

We saw a strange pyramidal peak in front of the Mount Rainier summit. Fruitboy, Sierra, Mugwort, Dazzle, and Tusk all joined me in checking out the glacier lake.
Pyramid Peak Below Mount Rainier Summit From Glacier Trail Ice Cave, Glacier, and Jagged Peak on Mount Rainier Fruitboy, Sierra, Mugwort, Dazzle, and Tusk on Glacier Lake Overlook of Mount Rainier

Besides the strange pyramidal peak, I saw what looked like an owl in stone from an outcrop looking over us on another side of the glacial canyon. On the canyon floor, Sierra noted the change in rock deposits perhaps due to the river, the glacier, or to lava flows.

Glacial Pyramidal Goodness on Mount Rainier Owl Outlook From Glacial Canyon on Mount Rainier Change in Rock Deposits in Glacial Canyon of Mount Rainier

The floor of the glacial canyon included other mysteries, such as the white lichen and the lime deposits thrust up from the canyon floor.

White Lichen on Floor of Glacial Canyon on Mount Rainier Sierra, Dazzle, and Fruitboy on Glacial Valley Limey Outcrop With View of Pyramid Peak and Mount Rainier Summit View of Glacier on Mount Rainier

We got up close and personal to a glacial lake, some composite rock, and Fireweed flowers.

Green Glacial Pond in Glacier Valley of Mount Rainier Composite Rock in Glacial Valley of Mount Rainier Fireweed in Glacial Valley of Mount Rainier

As we walked, I looked back and saw a marvelous vista. We came across Monkey Flowers and strange slime in a creek.

Glacial Valley on Mount Rainier Monkey Flower in Glacial Valley of Mount Rainier Slime in Creek of Glacial Valley on Mount Rainier

After fording a glacial creek, we approached the glacier. At first, I thought the finger of the glacier extending down between the river and the mountain was the mountain itself, but I eventually noticed the rocks tumbling off the melting ice.

Fruitboy, Dazzle, Tusk, and Mugwort Fording Glacial River on the Way to Glacier Ice Cave on Mount Rainier Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Finger of Glacier Extending Along Glacial River on Mount Rainier

Falling debris gave us the clue that we should not approach the glacier too closely.

Boulders Falling From Finger of Glacier Into River on Mount Rainier Edge of Main Part of Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Dirty Part of Glacier Under Jagged Peak on Mount Rainier

At last, we saw the ice cave!

Dirty Part of Glacier With View of Mount Rainier Summit Dazzle and Tusk Traversing Rocky Glacial Valley on Mount Rainier Approaching the Ice Cave at the Base of a Glacier on Mount Rainier

We got up fairly close and I was tempted to crawl inside, but both Sierra and Fruitboy insisted that would be a very bad idea.

Arrival at the Alabaster Ice Cave at the Base of a Glacier on Mount Rainier Glacier and Tumbling Debris on Mount Rainier Stardust Drawn Irresistably to Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

So we watched from what we thought was a safe distance.

Stardust in Front of Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Stardust and Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Glacier Falling Into River in Mount Rainier Valley

I decided to call the cave the alabaster ice cave due to the beautiful texture of its ceiling and walls.

Fruitboy in Glacial Valley of Mount Rainier More of the Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Closeup of Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

A glacial river streamed out from the cave.

Ice Shearing From Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier River Running From Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Larger View of River Running From Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

Watching the cave became a bit of a spectator sport.

Sierra, Dazzle, Tusk, and Mugwort Watch the Alabaster Ice Cave at the Base of the Glacier on Mount Rainier Another View of the Owl Outcrop on the Glacial Canyon of Mount Rainier Glacial Finger Against Mountain Slope on Mount Rainier

Then, the ice cave started to collapse!
Glacial Canyon on Mount Rainier Alabaster Ice Cave Starts to Collapse at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Ice Boulders Flowing in Glacial River Under Collapsed Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

Large ice boulders started falling downstream and Sierra went down to retrieve some of the smaller ones for us to examine up close.
Big Ice Boulder Flowing in Glacial River Under Collapsed Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Sierra Retrieving River Ice From Collapsed Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Ice Sierra Retrieved From River Below Collapsed Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

One piece of ice had a mysterious thing trapped inside, which must have been there for many years.
Glacial Ice With Mystery Object Embedded Inside From Collapsed Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Further Collapse of Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Another View of Further Collapse of Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

Then, the ice cave collapsed some more! This time baseball-sized chunks exploded out from where the ice crashed into the river and nearly hit us, so we retreated back further from the ice cave.
Yet Further Collapse of Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Red Succulent on Floor of Glacial Canyon of Mount Rainier Mugwort and Sierra by Creek on Glacier Trail on the Way Back to White River Campsite on Mount Rainier

We remained entranced by the glacier melting for a long time, then did a ritual for healing of the earth so that the glacier would continue to exist. On the way back to the campsite, we saw a red succulent and stopped by a flowing stream to rest.
Dazzle and Tusk by Creek on Glacier Trail on the Way Back to White River Campsite on Mount Rainier Fungus on Glacier Trail on Way Back to White River Campsite on Mount Rainier Ranger Sierra at Sunrise Camp Visitor Center on Mount Rainier

I saw a strange fungus on the trail and Fruitboy taught me how to identify different types of pine trees on our way back to camp. The next day was the day to head home, so I took a few pictures of Ranger Sierra at Sunrise Camp before saying goodbye.
Ranger Sierra at Sunrise Camp Visitor Center on Mount Rainier II Ranger Sierra at Sunrise Camp Visitor Center on Mount Rainier III Day Out of Time Gathering Mascot

Judy, our gathering mascot, gave us all good luck to spread whereever we go on our way down from the mountains. Thanks to Sierra and everyone else who made this gathering possible. :-)

It Stops With Me

I finished reading Charleen Touchette’s It Stops With Me: Memoir of a Canuck Girl this morning. I put it on library reserve because I read that some school district had banned it and that always sparks my curiosity about a book. The book is autobiographical and tackles the issue of parental abuse of children and therapeutic recovery from all kinds of abuse. I warmed up more and more to the book as I read it.

I’m at home with a cold today.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my friend Jim S. at Cafe Luna on Castro St., then we went to Cafe Flore to chat a bit more. After that, Kurt S. and I did our regular massage exchange at my place. I’m so glad I have my wonderful purple massage table. I decided not to go out to the Eagle or El Rio this weekend, just to spend some time relaxing at home reading about Egypt. A funny coincidence is that my nephew Alex is also learning a lot about Egypt right now since he’s going to a summer camp on that topic. I’m looking forward to seeing him and the rest of the Seattle-based family soon on my trip there from July 20-30, when I will also take several days to go camping to see the wildflowers on Mount Rainier with some of the radical faeries.

Monet, Mitcho, and More

David and Tommy invited me to the Monet exhibit at the Legion of Honor today. It cost $15 to get in and it was overcrowded. I saw several paintings I really liked: one of a hay stack, one of a obscure winter scene, a quite abstract painting of a wave, and another of a seascape at sunset. In the regular collection, we saw a painting titled “Love and the Maiden” (1877) by John Rodham Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908), that included the words “Cor Cordium” over and over again on the cupid figure’s clothing.

Love and the Maiden (1877) by John Rodham Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908)

A google search turned up this lovely poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne (thanks to David for help with the research on this stuff!):

Cor Cordium
O heart of hearts, the chalice of love's fire,
Hid round with flowers and all the bounty of bloom;
O wonderful and perfect heart, for whom
The lyrist liberty made life a lyre;
O heavenly heart, at whose most dear desire
Dead love, living and singing, cleft his tomb,
And with him risen and regent in death's room
All day thy choral pulses rang full choir;
O heart whose beating blood was running song,
O sole thing sweeter than thine own songs were,
Help us for thy free love's sake to be free,
True for thy truth's sake, for thy strength's sake strong,
Till very liberty make clean and fair
The nursing earth as the sepulchral sea.

We hung out at Cafe Flore afterwards, then I went to a celebration of Mitcho’s retirement from as the director of the city’s queer youth outreach program. I chatted with many of the guys who were at the Covelo camping weekend and of course congratulated Mitcho. The Sisters of Indulgence helped Supervisor Bevan Dufty announce that the City of San Francisco named the day after Mitcho. Mark Leno and other notables were there, but the most poignant speakers were the kids who had come to the youth center. Some described how Mitcho persuaded them not to commit suicide or helped them off of meth. I met two interesting new people: Ariel, a writer and biological female whose crazy doctor father at Harvard reassigned her to be a male in an incident of abusive constructive intersex status, and Aaron, a young fellow who drinks, smokes tobacco, and plays guitar.

After that, the gang walked over to Moby Dick, then walked over and picked up Indian takeout to Johnny and Brian’s place in the Haight. I found out Mark of Mark and Onyx went to Senegal for two years in the Peace Corps and we agreed to meet up again to discuss his experiences there. I got tired before midnight and headed home.

Soft Soul

Grampy’s soft soul is slippery
with voided balconies,
overdosed drugs, and
the self-induced pneumonia
of neglect. He wants to
be by her side
in the great beyond
after more than 60 years
together in the here and now.
There is no way to explain
why not
after all
what consolation is
an empty apartment of memories
that flow stronger than time?
The descendants and helpers
who bring conscious present
do little to stave off
omnipresent death.

Candid Shot of My Grandfather Sleeping

Grammy Still Now

Not pretend
but real death –
she’s gone.
Grammy, rest tranquil
in the stillborn dawn
never to wake
by Grampy’s side again.
The pain is over,
the waiting done,
the death drugs flushed
safely down the toilet
where they now belong.
Mingle with the universal
so Grampy can feel
your love spread lovingly
through his suicidal soul.
The time will come
soon enough for you
both to rest side by side
cremains in a cubby
built for two
for all time.