High-ho, high-ho, it’s off to hike we go…to ScapegoatPeak that is.  And high-ho it sure is!  As we embarked on the day’s adventure, I felt like I was living a fairy tale.  As we walked through sun lit meadows and around steep ridges, I saw the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  Her natural beauty embodied by the lodgepoles and spruce trees, the rushing streams, the pouring waterfalls, and the mountain cliff bends.  It’s the kind of beauty that is pure and rich in life, so much so that it’s desired for it’s natural resources and control that it takes the protection of regulations to preserve it.  Here, at ScapegoatPeak in the Wilderness area, she is safe from the poisonous apple of resource extraction, development, and over crowding.  Here, life is simple and fresh.

Everything fills me with a sense of awe and amazement to see life flourishing without humans tweaking it.  There’s a mama grouse and her chicks crossing a path going along their daily business, flowers beginning to bloom, and a white-tailed deer grazing in the grass.  All the while, here we are, the seven dwarves (plus Brian), simply observing and experiencing what it means to be in Snow White’s enchanted and protected forests.  It’s an experience I feel very fortunate to have considering that this area which is free of development and motorized vehicles makes up only 2% of U.S. lands.  As one might imagine those circumstances allow seeing other visitors to be very few and far between.  At the top of ScapegoatPeak at an elevation of 9,202 feet I saw endless mountain peaks rolling off into the distance with no sign of man’s presence except for the trails.  Being atop the mountain peak made me feel alive and insignificant in the face, no – the body, of nature.  It was a reminder that humans don’t have control and power over everything, which was refreshing.  It was assuring to know that nature doesn’t need our help to grow, just our help to preserve what is left.  The sense of solitude and stillness up there provides a chance for the music of life.  It’s an escape from the apple into a safe zone where I can feel my roots dig deep into the ground, the air give me breath, the water flow through my veins, and the fire to ignite my spirit.  All us dwarves have out here is the necessary items for survival, which creates a heightened sense of awareness for the life booming all around.  We’re out of our traditional element and immersed into the wonders of nature.  These trees and mountains have seen many moons rise and set, rivers grow and flow.

As the population of humans grows and takes its toll on the environment, it’s vital that us dwarves find alternative resources that prioritize nature’s sanctity and that don’t sacrifice her integrity.  Our duties as the dwarves include learning all that we can from this enchanted place and how to leave as little impact as possible.  We are the companions and students of Snow White of nature.  There’s no better way to learn from her than to be out here first hand.

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