This was originally posted on the old Rodda Trials website in August 2013.
I initially wanted to write about a trip I took with some friends to Hyas, Tuck, Robin, Hozzbizz, Marmot, No-Name, and Jade Lakes as an all – inclusive insight to the whole trail from A to B. And even though everything experienced on the trip was great I still can’t pull my mind away from Jade Lake enough to collect my thoughts in a way that would do it any justice.
The difference is that Jade Lake was much more of an overwhelming experience compared to the rest of the trip. Out of 5 awesome nights spent on the trail, there is one place that has managed to firmly cement itself to me. It’s been all-consuming. In my mind everything is imagined in front of my memory’s snapshot of the lake and it’s surroundings. When I speak to someone on the street or at work, or anywhere, I am engaging them entirely but behind them and all around us is my living, breathing memory of Jade Lake. It’s still there inside of me. Two weeks later. Clear enough to close my eyes and be sitting there staring through the endless blue deep. At work, standing in the warehouse packing orders, smiling and somewhat quiet, I’m still up the mountain breathing in that place. It’s haunting. Like your first love.
But that’s the thing, I can still feel it, smell it and taste it. It isn’t a place you do something to and somehow insert your human-ness into it. It swallows you whole. Completely containing and then erasing your place in the world the way I imagine death would. So much so that you realize sometime along the way that “you” are gone. ”You” have been replaced by alpine snow fields, rocks falling on the opposite shore, hundreds of mountain frogs, huge trout, and the seemingly endless deep of the bluest and cleanest gem you’ve never seen. When you take your clothes off and jump into the soft icy water at first it’s welcoming and nurturing. The very instant you give in to the possibility of finding comfort in that water the cold pierces straight through you and reminds you that you are nothing here. You will seize up and be swallowed by this icy lake if you stop moving. Walking the perimeter of the lake, filling up on water direct from one of the streams trickling out of the snow at the end of the lake, sliding down one scree field and then scrambling back up another, or standing on one of the many cliffs that cradle this gem it’s impossible to not feel altogether insignificant and indestructible at the same time.
Maybe it’s the hike in and everything that you have to pass through to get there. Maybe it really is a place of magic. Maybe it’s a jewel that fell from one of the God’s crowns. Maybe we’re just terrifically lucky to have places like this less than a two hour drive away. Two hours, and 9 miles up and out.