Last month we included “hike the Eagle Creek trail with friends” on our bucket list post. We never imagined that a few weeks later a forest fire would consume the trail and more than 33,000 acres that surround it. Mr. Grumby and I are very grateful that we were able to hike the trail one last time. We’d like to share a few photos from a beautiful and memorable day as a tribute to the Eagle Creek Trail. I’ll also add some thoughts about the great loss of a sacred place.
Photos from Eagle Creek Trail – August 6, 2017
Loss of a Sacred Place
All who have spent time on the Eagle Creek trail and other trails in the Columbia River Gorge are experiencing a profound loss. Though there have not yet been any human fatalities, millions of other living beings lost their lives in this fire. The plants and animals, great and small, were part of an ecosystem that provided immense restorative energy to human visitors. We turned to to these lives for inspiration and peace, and now they are gone. We will be lucky to see a full recovery in our lifetime.
Jamie Hale eloquently described the impact of the gorge in his September 6th article, As Eagle Creek fire rages, why we mourn for the gorge:
The gorge isn’t just a recreation area, a National Scenic Area, a pretty place to see in the summer. For many of us, the gorge is our temple, our sanctuary, our home. It’s a place we go to worship the land, to bask in the awe of nature …
We may divide ourselves into camps, but nature doesn’t. We come from different backgrounds, and live our lives differently, but the power of nature unites us. We all know what it feels like to be humbled by a mountain or to fall in love with a sunset. It touches our spirit, our heart and our soul. In the Pacific Northwest, especially, it’s a religion – our way of being, wrapped up with the Earth.
For anyone who has been similarly inspired by nature, Hale’s article is worth a read. Followed by a moment of silence for all of the natural spaces that are forever changed by careless human behavior.
How to Help
Cascades Region Red Cross – for the people who have been displaced from their homes
Friends of the Columbia River Gorge – to rebuild The Columbia River Gorge national treasure
Thinking about the 15-year old that started the fire and his fate…
How was his decision to bring fireworks into a wilderness area (and to light them!!) so detached from potential consequences? (Any experts on adolescent psychology out there?)
What is the most compassionate way to help him learn from this mistake?
I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.