One of my old-school shred and lifetime besties, Ms Lisa Kosglow, is having one of those big birthdays next month. You know, the ones that require multiple week-long celebrations and get-aways with lots of cake and champagne and friends to help you transition into a new decade of “hmmm, I thought I’d be ______by now”(fill in the blank with your choice of a far-fetched idea formed in your teens about what you’d be doing in you 20s, 30s and beyond).
So, in a Lisa-style celebratory fashion she gathered together a handful of old friends and sisters for a girls’ weekend in the woods to eat and explore and talk and talk and talk and eat some more. We packed bikes and tents and wine and chocolate for two nights of camping at the base of Mt. St. Helens so we could spend the days exploring the nooks and crannies of the Northwest’s topless wonder.
Walking through layers upon layers of lava in Lava Canyon.
We hiked (and some of us biked) through lava fields and canyons and marveled at the massive pieces of rock and debris that spewed out of that mountain not-so-many years ago. We wander through elephant-skin-like-lava flows frozen in time, imagining that hot, gelatinous mass moving down the mountainside, melting everything in its way. We walked or more like bounced across the highest effin suspension bridge I’ve ever seen and I was suddenly aware that I’m a pansy-ass who does not like to be bounced on a bouncy rope-like-bridge hundreds of feet over a fast moving river. Who knew?
We even walked right down into the belly of the beast at Ape Caves, the longest lava tubes in the lower 48, spending two hours scrambling over massive piles of lava rubble in pitch-black darkness with only our four little headlamps and flashlights piercing the misty abyss. Darkness is a strange thing. Rarely are we in complete and udder darkness, so as we descended the metal ladder from broad daylight into a black hole in the earth a sort of primal fear of the dark reared its head; conjuring up all the boogiemen out of the closets and from under the beds of my youth. But after hours of shining our lights through slim passageways to cathedral size tunnels dripping with stalactite sprouts and walls that sparkled with silver flecks we emerged into the light with a new appreciation of the dark.
Back at camp we sat for hours and hours as Lisa bestowed upon us, yet again, her great gift of gathering good people and good food together in one space. We laughed about old times and new times and even managed to get a “Kick butt Bloody Mary” at the Cougar Bar in lovely Cougar, Washington. Yes, yes, a girls’ weekend at the Cougar Bar, somehow we made it out of there without buying an “I got ripped at the Cougar Bar” t-shirt or coozie. But there’s always next time…
If you’re lucky enough to know Lisa her birthday is coming up so you might want to send her some birthday wishes… if you haven’t met her yet I hope someday you get to sit down at her big wooden table at her little red farm house and share a ridiculously delicious meal that she has just whipped up from their abundant fields, surrounded by an assortment of amazing humans and family and talk and laugh and be inspired by Lisa and her fiery, passion for life and all its tasty bits. Happy Birthday Lis!