Yesterday I spent mainly at the Crescent Lake Lodge. The ground seemed old, beaten down by the feet of hundreds of thousands of overfed children. Smoke from the British Columbian forest fires robbed the sky of blue and the trees of definition. This morning, thinking of the lost beauty, I’m on the way to Marymere Falls, walking through a forest of shaggy red cedars and soldier-straight Douglas Furs.
The trail has been reduced to hard pan by thousands of tennis shoes. Dust raised by passing walkers coats trail-side ferns and the leaves of salal berry plants. But I am alone and the trees can’t help but impress.
Don’t we savor those rare chances to be the only presence in a place of famous beauty like a rain, Venice’s St. Mark’s Square or the south rim of the Grand Canyon at first light?
It is small by Alaskan standards but Marymere Falls has its own mossy beauty. I sit on a wooden bench worn smooth by the bottoms of previous visitors. Some of them carved initials into the bench or into the railing that marks the edge of a sheer cliff. But on this summer Saturday morning no one approaches with a knife. The sound of tired children or grunting parents doesn’t compete with that made by tumbling water in a great hurry to join the lake.