Day one: I leave Raleigh Durham airport and wonder at the landscape below as I fly to Portland, Oregon. The sky is clear most of the way and when I leave the mostly tree-covered land of the southeast the patchwork patterns of the farmland translate to fiber and cloth in my head. I trace the river basins with my fingers and imagine traveling along them on the surface. The oxbows fascinate me, because they tell stories of the rivers’ past. “Here’s where I used to go, until I found a shortcut.” Are the oxbows sad to be left behind or are they happy to be in retirement?

The vast wilderness of the West makes me feel much calmer. There are many places that we haven’t decimated yet and where nature will still kick yo’ ass if you don’t behave and respect it.

I am particularly thrilled at the sight of Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens poking up above the clouds and the other mountains. There is another volcanic peak in the distance that I identified as Mt. Rainier upon return and looking on a map. I can’t believe that I can see that far away. The person next to me on the plane is from Portland (I ask, since we are almost there) and she can’t tell me the names of the peaks. She knows about Mt. St. Helens but she really just wants me to shut up.

The first two were taken on the way in on April 22. The others were taken on the way back on April 27 and the sun was rising and the window was not scratched up. I didn’t ask my seat neighbor any geological questions on the way back.

Funny, I used to prefer the aisle seat.

columbiariver

The Columbia River

IMG_6069

Mt. Adams. You can barely see Mt. Rainier in the distance if you look at the large size.

Mt. Adams

Another photo of Mt. Adams at sunrise, this time.

Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens at sunrise. The blowout is on the other side.

20150427_061246

Pretty sunrise.

20150427_090358

I think that this may have been over Minnesota. I want to do some abstract design based on this one.

20150427_090651_resized

Again, closer to Chicago, not sure what river, but love those river channels.