In which we ride and the sky is blue and The Mountain Is Out at last!

Yesterday the sky was blue, and Swamplanders
did everything short of declaring a regional holiday.

Of course, we went riding!

Du and Hana met us at the trailhead, and we headed out for a quick 7-mile loop.  Freya was apparently playing "Circus Animals" in the pasture last week, and came in with swelling in her legs, so she's sidelined for a bit.

Hana doesn't mind.

She may be retired from endurance competition, but Hana still gets regular exercise as a lesson pony, so she's in fine condition for trails.

Fee was happy to be out with her friend.

A little too happy at times, if you know what I mean.
"You are a GROWN UP HORSE NOW, behave yourself!"

The trails are still too soggy for horses or bicycles, but there are plenty of roads to ride.

This trail may look like a trail but it's an old logging road and is armored with rock
under a thin layer of forest duff.  I could drive a car on it without getting stuck, so
it's fine to ride , even in winter.

Seven miles.  Not too hot, not too cold, and not very many bugs (yet).  A nice ride with my friend!

And when we got to the meadow near the trailhead:

The Mountain is Out!

It's not easy to see Mount Rainier in the photo above.  It's a little more obvious in the photo below:

Biggify to see the volcano on the far horizon line

I found an interesting and not-entirely-accurate description of what we mean when we say "The Mountain Is Out" at this blog HERE.  The focus of that blog seems to be a transplanted umbrella-user trying to explain the quaint and rustic ways of Swamplanders to other sunbaked barbarians.

(I can't help noticing that, despite his tone of superiority, the desiccated yabbo writing the blog didn't manage to make it to the 7-year mark--he moved to Los Angeles in 2016.  Weenie.)

He also got it wrong about the mountain.

The Mountain Is Out is not just a sunny day.   The vast majority of days here, we can't see the mountain at all.  Yes, often because the rainclouds hover 3 feet above the ground or so.  But also because our region is subject to a lot of visual pollution.

Steady rain for  days weeks  months clears the air of dust, pollen, dirt, and other particulates that create haze.

With the sky that clear, from a grassy field in Stanwood, I can see the top of Mount Rainier more than 100 miles away.

It's a day of jubilation, one that celebrates our resilience and fortitude in the face of almost-unending gloom.   The prize for surviving winter is a day when The Mountain Is Out, and the native mossbacks will skimp on their indoor responsibilities as much as possible in order to run outside and worship the sky for a while.

Including me.

The Mountain looks best through the ears of the Dragon!

The day after the Mountain Is Out is almost always an ordinary day, even if the sky is blue.  More than 24 hours dries up enough pollen and dirt to fill the air with mountain-obscuring haze again.  And of course, if it rains, the clouds will cloak the mountain.

Today, it's raining.  But it's okay.  

The Mountain will be Out again...someday.


  1. As you know the longest standing joke between J and me is that he calls it Cloud Rainier and insists it does not exist. Funnily illustrated by the fact we hiked up Mt Rainier to Panorama Point and saw nothing. And at the top of the Space Needle, standing on the line looking to where it should be, we saw only the painted outline on the window where it would be. *lol* I'd never heard the phrase in the plural "mountains are out", never heard "Shh!" about it, and I didn't know vicinage is a word. Hm! I also didn't know Seattleites had an inferiority complex, I'd always heard the opposite.

    I hate to complain but I do, here, about the sunshine. We live in Wet Germany; our field stays muddy all Summer. But the sun comes out almost every day. I keep track, sometimes, on my calendar, if the sun does not come out at all. We'll have snowstorms and then click, there's the sun again. I had ice on my car this week in the morning, but by afternoon my car's solar panel will be active, fans on, when it's freezing out.

    Last week when the chain saw guy showed up, it was raining and he said, "Are you sure you wanna do this?" And I said, "Let's go!" But sometimes I find myself falling into the habit of, "It's raining, so maybe I'll wait a while before I do stuff outside" cuz the sun will come out, it's inevitable.

    From talking to friends who moved to Seattle, I can sympathize with how hard it is for them. Did you know it rains every day on Oahu? : )

    1. That's funny, I didn't notice that the outlander said the "mountains" are out, but he did. Weird. We don't say that.

      There's only one Mountain that disappears, the rest hang out all the time, we can see Pilchuck and Whitehorse and even Baker most days from the freeway (except if it's, you know, raining. Or dark!)

  2. I grew up in Enumclaw, so we probably got to see the Mountain more often than you guys further north. For us, it was nearly an equal correlation between "it's sunny" and "the Mountain's out," though of course it could be out when it's just high overcast, and could be only semi-out even on a bluebird day because of the lenticular clouds. :-) But I did notice his use of the plural, AND he got the height wrong. I grew up knowing Rainier was 14,410, but somewhere around in high school they declared her to be 14,411 due to her hump increasing under volcanic pressures. It looks like he typo-ed that, and wrote 14,441, which is absolutely NOT correct. Sheesh. Doesn't surprise me he moved back to California. ;-)


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