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The Highline Trail
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Mountain peaks, especially, are often shrouded in a mantle of cloud; their sides shrouded in a mantle of snow. But to the observant, listening heart, they are also shrouded in a mantle of mystery, a mantle of Spirit. And that Spirit speaks, and flows, and calls. Thirty miles north of our home, in White Salmon, Washington, --Our-- Mountain, 12,307 foot, Mt. Adams, waits, and calls, and sends out her silent, inviting song. Summer, 1955: It has been written, --Without dreams, even unfulfilled dreams, we should die.--Our family was very much alive. And so it was really not unexpected that the dream of walking the nearly sixty mile, --Round the mountain trail, -- should begin taking the form of a vision. According to U.S. Forest Service maps; there was an --Around the mountain trail.-- And, the Forest Service people assumed us, dangerously, what we were to find, --Oh yes, there is a good trail, all the way around the mountain.-- Ah, but the irrepressible optimism of the human spirit. This story chronicles the results of that optimism, optimism held by two pairs of very ordinary parents, and by seven, very ordinary, but vibrantly alive, young children. It wasn't until we were well out on the trail, that that Spirit of the Mountain began to really stir the soul of this young, unpolished author, that here, indeed, was a dramatic, family adventure unfolding. So stay with this simple story, and travel the Highline Trail with us. Dean Nichols was born on the Yakima Indian Reservation in Washington in 1919, although his Indian forebears lived in Northern Maine. Dean grew up on the banks of the Columbia River. His high school days were spent working on water-rafting logs, running boom boats and decking on the tugs. A licensed tugboat captain and purser, he has worked as a port manager, an electrical and civil engineer, an air-traffic controller, a boat officer for the Alaskan Department of Fish and Game, and a marine-traffic officer for the Alaska Marine Highway. He followed in his father's footsteps to become a tugboat captain in the Pacific Northwest. He has studied the social and natural sciences, humanities, and business administration at Anchorage Community College.
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