Here at Mount Rainier, I cook. On my days off I eat wild plants.
Its a learning experience, because I'm finding, many plants in the field are not in the books. At least, not at this early stage of development. So I have developed other methods of personal discovery.
I did find several edible varieties from the book by Samuel Thayer. He does and excellent job detailing plants in their various stages. As we all know, however, plants common to one area, are not common to another.
Other activities up here on the very remote, lightly connected Mountain include hiking and exploring. I've been told the Wonderland Trail is booked for the summer. What?
Oh, yeah, you've got to have permits to camp in any one of a dozen remote campsites on the 93 mile circuit. As yet, I've never seen a tent at any of those remote sites. Humm. Booked but unbedded?
Maybe one can hike it, anyways.
Can we whisper stealth? No, I did not say that. I did NOT say I would cover it as a wild creature, bedding down at will, when darkness came.
Nearly every work day, as I ride the shuttle through the parking lot on top, I see hikers heading up the Skyline trail. Some are geared for mountain climbing, some for backpacking, some for a simple stroll.
I always want to chuck the uniform and head out. I ask myself, what the hell am I doing here, cooking?
I guess being a ridge-runner last summer, inhaling freedom with every breath of air, ruined me. I am time-clock abhorrent. A horrible affliction for an employee of rule laden concessionaires.
Four months to go.
The trail calls.
Which master will win?