Morning washes slowly down the slopes of LaCrosse Basin, and with each step along the rocky shore a new generation of tiny frogs scrambles into the diamond-clear waters of the lake.
In berry-rich fall the Bears rejoice in their good fortune, that their last meals of the season should be so decadent. They hide away in tufts of trees as the shadows slide into the lake, where the golden fish of bending light swim in wavelets across surface.
Reaching the ridge, I see it. Mount Anderson's silent mass—Great Tombstone Mountain! It's clear now to whom those lesser peaks are praying. Immense & stony-faced, glacial nesting majesty, jutting at unbelievable angles out of the skinny dark valley below. Monuments of ice hang from His peaks, spilling at mineral speed over the rocky cliffs, each instant grinding away at His hard flesh. Yet He sits in monastic stillness, unflinching. Mortality does not scare him! No churn of mantle, no gape of tectonic jaws can make his blind eyes blink. He is mortality itself! Sunset licks her many kings, and the dried-mud precipice stares into me like a mirror. I blink, exhale. Back.