Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hatcher Pass

     Yesterday Dad, Hanna, several friends of ours who will remain nameless and secret, and myself, visited the magnificent and majestic natural wonder just minutes from where I live; Hatcher Pass.
Now, despite it being named after a person, it is not Hatcher’s Pass, even though that is what everyone everywhere calls it.


     We parked the car and walked up a mountain to a lake that a friend of mine who will remain secret and nameless knew about, and had been to. As we walked I was struck by how crazy nature is, just the sheer amount of detail in nature blew my mind, the tiny, tiny swirls of plants that grow in hard to access locations.
      I have always sort of suspected that nature and the earth is a sort of trick, a simulation provided for the amusement of people, that the only reason anything exists is so that people can go and look at it but you go to a place like hatchers pass and that’s so obviously not the case. You walk up to any rock and you stare it and no matter how long you stare you just keep. Noticing. Details. If I were to recreate this somehow it would take me so much time, and so much energy and would be so. Boring. Our nameless and secret friends are religious and I felt so, sad for them. I mean, I understand. It is so, so easy when presented with something so strange and complex that your mind can’t handle it to just push it aside and say, well of course, God made all this so that I may see it and it is great. But whatever. Isn’t this supernatural being great! God is the amazing thing here.

      That is the wrong thing. You’re still stuck in that mind set of ‘Of course everything exists so that I may see it’ and you are not seeing the thing that is in front of you. Because the world is not a simulation for your benefit it just is there. Lichen will continue to grow on rocks and create the most insane patterns whether you walk past it or not and that is awe inspiring. Rocks can be perfect cubes in nature and that is so weird. There are tiny black flowers and it is all basically pointless and that is amazing. Those flowers and massive forests aren’t growing so that they may be good plants and then go to heaven or something, trees don’t have a concept of anything because they are trees and that is okay.

      The concept that the world is massive and insanely detailed and doesn’t exist just for me is a thought I try to have regularly but it is hard to do that. And when this concept is presented in a way that you cannot ignore and you cannot deny and when this all happens in a very low-oxygen environment it is the craziest thing. Awesome in the true sense of the word.

     So here are some pictures.

As you drive up you notice how intense everything is. How green the ground, how blue the sky. 

Hey, our town’s down there. 

Different levels of ground, all the way to the sky. 

A giant rock with nature growing on it pushes hard against the magnificent and terrible sky.
Neither aware of the tiny apes in hats nearby, or if they are aware, uncaring.

Water from above slowly disintegrates the rocks it travels across. 

Okay, look at this. Look at this. It is SO DETAILED. It is a PLANT growing on a ROCK and that is AWESOME.


I think this is a bottlebrush? Maybe. I don’t know, I am not a botanist. 

A tiny plant grows on a large rock that sits on many decomposed plants on a larger rock in space. 

Tiny goth flowers rage against the mainstream beauty of their kin.

Water meets stone in an eternal struggle neither understands nor acknowledges. 
Their everlasting battle destroys the tiny wooden structures the apes in hats made, neither force remembers anything, least of all apes in hats digging holes. 

Is a big rock. 

Where did these sticks come from? There are no trees around here. Aliens? No.

LICHEN. WHAT ARE DOING. STOP THAT. Stop being beautiful and mysterious and a trick. Fun Fact; Lichen is not a plant. Or an animal. It is, in fact, a mushroom and an algae living together. I feel like there’s an odd couple joke there. 

Masses of water vapor at high altitudes try and smother the giant rock. These efforts fail, of course, but the plants living on the giant rock rejoice in their massive, voiceless ways. 

I really like the light in this one. 

The world is awesome. 

The giant rock stood stock still, of course, but in a way that implied it was pleased with itself that it had won this round against the water. 
Of course, the water will win the war. 

Look at this plant look very close at this plant. Stare at it and do not look away. The details. The sheer detail. 

Gurgle gurgle splish splash. 

A very large rock stands in front of an even larger rock. 

Breathe. Focus on your breath. Count to three.

That’s not the horizon, that’s a cliff. 

Rocks pretending that water is not kicking their butts. Which it totally, totally is.

So scenic. So pastoral. At such a huge scale you can’t even imagine.

You sit on a rock and watch the water. Above you the clouds whip by at speeds you are uncomfortable with, but right now you are focusing on the water and the mountain behind it. 

No fish jump. No birds sing. It would be absolutely silent, if not for your companions. You are grateful for them, as absolute silence is what drives people insane. And being insane on top of mountains is how religions get going. 

Cute little fern. 
Do you realise you are underneath a rock the size of a small car? No. You do not realise anything. You are a plant. 

Look at this mountain. It is falling apart, and it is falling apart into cubes. 
It was crazy. 

A path that looks to lead to the heavens. Actually, it just leads to death by falling off a cliff. 

What a dork. 

Making of a masterpiece? 

A landscape of solid objects. The only life visible the tough life of moss. Look closer.

Low bush parsley. 

Ferns are very cool. As a guy that gets distracted and amazed by things with many tiny, intricate details I spend a lot of time looking at ferns. 

A delicate fern just looking to make it, sheltered from the elements by giant rocks and looking for love. 

Tiny flowers race to the sky, enjoying the sun and doing all they can while they can as soon the cold and snow will be back again.

Rocks. Clouds. Sun. Light. Shadow. 
Struggle and acceptance of nothing. 
Pretentious beat poetry.

Those neat flowers from before, but in a field. 
A tiny, tiny field. 

Marvel at the delicate intricacies of lichen. 
Could YOU make something that complex? Please try and then get back to me. 

What are you doing rock. Why are you so square. Loosen up. It’s only rock and roll. 


The Lone Entity regarded its land. Everything was in place everything looked natural and not posed at all. As it should be. Nothing here could possibly draw attention to this spot. 
So why was the ape in the hat observing this area so intently. 
This behaviour must be stopped. the Lone Entity recorded the ape in the hat and watched it as it walked around. 
It would never know what hit it, or for what reason. 

Why so blue, flower? It’s just the way you are, and that’s okay. Here, swallow this it will cheer you up.

This is my favourite rock. 

Tiny green tendrils uncurling and reaching towards the sky, at the tendril’s tip a tiny red flower flowers and it is glorious. 

The ground undulates, while staying completely still. Gradually the earth recovers these fallen rocks, leading to a field of miniature hills. 

Forget your sense of scale. 
Find the people.

The tiny plants that are not bottlebrushes grew near the path. 

Gurgle splish splash gurgle gurgle.
It’s a stream!

The rock despaired that it would never know the dry life again.
The moss rejoiced.  

Purple flower why so blue?
Are people being mean to you?
Probably not because even if they were you are, in fact, a flower and do not care. 

I’m pretty sure these are not bananas. 

This is the old ‘Town’ that was built for the gold miners. 

Fire Escape. 

The sky kind of tuned a weird colour, in this picture, but look at the insane details on that mountain. 

Thank you so much for your helpful advice, sign. 

Master view of the miner town, from a higher area where there was more miner stuff. 

The best waterfall I have ever photographed. 
This is going in my Best Of folder. 

A reasonably okay waterfall. 

What are you doing, pickaxe, this hasn’t been an active mine since like, the forties. 


A something Imperial, from the Diesel Engine Co. 

Soon enough in the memory of mountains the dead–tree structures the apes in hats made will be no more than dirt and nails.

Detail: Wall of a mine building. 

We saw a marmot. 

Detail: Wall of mine building, brown. 

Another marmot. A PUNK marmot. 

Crazy caterpillar. 

     Now that I think back on it, I may have had what a religious type would call a Religious Experience, but since I am not a religious type I guess I had the opposite of a religious experience? For the record I have no idea what our nameless and secret friends were really thinking, I may have been projecting. And we saw a marmot.


  1. Thank you Jake! Your photos are amazingly beautiful -- and you are a poet! I truly love that you appreciate nature and see it with such a keen eye and can describe it so eloquently.

  2. Maybe you'd like to study geology as rocks and mountains are so intriguing.

    The crazy caterpillar in your last photo is a rusty tussock moth larva Orgyia Antiqua. I found one in a friend's rock garden and captured it to show Howard who in turn identified it. See pp 24, 33, and 155 of Insects of south-central Alaska (I think your dad has a copy.)


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