Backpacking, Hiking, Mount Rainier, Norway, Top Trips

This is my church

I’ve been whining a lot this summer. Lingering depression, lingering snowpack, lingering rain. Then, suddenly, the weather didn’t seem so important anymore.

Magic light

News started ticking in about an explosion in Oslo. Live tweets from desperate teenagers trapped on an island with a gunman. 77 innocent people killed in my beautiful, tiny country.

Dinner with a view

Then, two days later, a heartbreaking phone call from home. JK’s dad had passed away. Peacefully so, but still much, much too soon.

Wellie likes it too

We boarded the next plane to Norway to spend time with our family and say our goodbyes.

Fallen Ents

I’ve had this drained, empty, hollow feeling inside of me ever since that Friday, and I’m having a hard time coming to terms with everything that’s happened.

To the Knob we go

Fearing a relapse into can’t-get-out-of-bed depression, JK and I decided to get out this weekend to clear our heads.

Looking for chipmunks

I don’t believe in a god, but when I’m outside, surrounded by towering peaks, blooming meadows, romping marmots and crystal-clear lakes, I feel so close to whatever life force it is that keeps this world turning.

Like birds of a feather

I don’t know if this force is in nature or in the ether or inside of all of us, but I do know that whenever I connect with it, the world finally starts making sense again.

This is my fourth visit...

We hiked, we swam, we breathed, we talked, we were quiet together. We’re both saddened by the fact that JK’s dad never got to visit us in Washington. I could picture him sitting right there with us on Noble Knob, painting the beautiful scene in front of us.

Morning panorama

After sunset we lit candles under the full moon. Suddenly we saw a shooting star, impossibly clear, right above Mount Rainier. Maybe he was there with us after all.

Family photo

Vi savner deg, pusepappa!

Jan & Jan

Big thanks to our friend who volunteered to take Wellie on such short notice, and to all the others that reached out to us over the last couple of weeks. It helps to know that we have friends like you.

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  • Reply Wendy Witkoski August 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    That’s a great church! I understand the feelings the mountain gives. Your amazing pictures have me adding Noble Know to my list.

    I hope you are feeling better!

  • Reply Linda Barber August 16, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Beautifully written. And the photos are amazing. I too am a big fan of this church!

  • Reply Lynda M August 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Beautiful reflections Ingunn….. I’m sad I didn’t get to see you before I left…..
    but I love seeing these photos and your inspirations. Take good care!

  • Reply Mark Griffith August 17, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Sorry to hear about the losses, wonderful words and photos.

  • Reply Solgunn August 18, 2011 at 4:12 am

    Du skriver så vakkert. Å gå tur er balsam for sjelen.

  • Reply Schmidt Alti-Babe August 18, 2011 at 5:11 am

    Lovely post Ingunn. It truly touched home. My best to you and JK during this time. Keep on smiling that 1000 watt smile – it lights up the camera!

  • Reply Susan C. August 18, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Even though I don’t know you personally (only via the internet), you came to mind when the Norwary attacks occurred. Love your post and your photos are beautiful as always. So sorry for your loss. I hope things look up for your cute family. :)

  • Reply Anilu Magloire August 18, 2011 at 8:16 am

    So sorry for your loss. I love how nature pulls you back and centers you. Your photographs are always stunning.
    Stay strong :-)

  • Reply Malin aka Boop August 18, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Leit at dere har gått gjennom en så tung tid, Ingunn. Å miste noen nære og kjære er alltid tungt, og hendelsene her i landet har vært vanskelig. Når ting kommer oppå hverandre og samtidig, er det vanskelig å fokusere på noe positivt. Bra at du har så mye vakker natur å bevege deg i, det er sikkert til stor hjelp. Bildene og turene dine er alltid superinspirerende. Bare å se bilder som du har tatt, har flere ganger vært grunn alene for at jeg har tråkket ut i skog og mark. Så når du er nedfor og lei, skal du ihvertfall vite at DU er stor inspirasjon – for meg, og for sikkert mange andre som meg. :) Klem til deg fra Norge.

  • Reply Lisa August 18, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I am so sorry you are struggling. I’ve had some death in my universe recently too. It really does make you FEEL every emotion. I’m with you–I don’t believe in a traditional god and I don’t go to church. But I feel the presence of a higher power when I am in nature. Swimming in a lake, hiking up a mountain, snowshoeing in the winter…I love it.

    Hope you feel better soon, thanks for sharing lovely photos!

  • Reply Libby August 18, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Hi Ingunn,

    I already admired your photos on Flickr but didn’t realize the significance of your time spent in nature. Sounds like it did you both good. Hoping you get some more magical days to spend together in your “church”.

  • Reply ania August 24, 2011 at 11:57 am

    *stor klem*

  • Reply Kelsie August 31, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I know we don’t know one another, but I’ve been following your photography and words via nwhikers/Flickr for some time. Both led me to your blog. So very sorry to hear of your loss, and struggles as of late. “Church” does exist in the wilderness, go out and soak as much of it up as you can. Take care, and heal well. My best to both you and JK.

  • Reply Andra September 2, 2011 at 2:46 am

    I am so sorry for your loss! After reading your post, I realized I belong to the same “church” yet I could never describe as eloquently as you, the beliefs of this “church”. Your photos are beautiful and thank you for sharing this part of your life and your world with us.

  • Reply stacymarie September 8, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I really am truly sorry to hear the news…and I also wanted to say that the reason I read this post is that I too had a post dedicated to the mountains as my church. I too have had many hard years in Seattle and found my only solace in the mountains surrounding my home. And I too moved here in a deep depression that has still stuck with me even after marrying the most amazing man who agreed to have our small wedding in the very mountains that I made my home.

    When I started learning photography I would get so upset that I would miss a beautiful sunset or a perfect Seattle summer day…and sometimes I still feel that way, but I discovered one thing: There is a spot on the express lanes over the Montlake Cut going north towards the U District in Seattle that when I pass it (which I do almost every day) looks right through the Fremont Bridge. When the sun is setting it lights up the entire space of water under the bridge causing it to be a beautiful orange that reflects the sky perfectly. Now there is no way for me to capture that photo as you can’t stop on the bridge without causing a major backup or police presence so this one shot…it’s all in my mind. And every day I get to see it if the conditions are right. I look forward to it, it’s my own little happy place that no one else can have and it makes up for the fact that I can’t share it with the world.

    Long story made longer….try to find that one little happiness in your surroundings that you can’t share with anyone else and then build on that. That one beautiful view…

    and thank you for always inspiring me with your amazing photos.

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