The Unrequited Love of Ellinor

Mt. Ellinor-14

Dear Ellinor,

Never do I feel more alive, than when I am with you.  You take me from the mundane and offer me a simple taste of glory.  Our affair spans more than a decade, but each time with you feels like we have just met.

Knowing that I am one of many does not change my feeling, for what we have is special.

Mt. Ellinor-10

Every time I come back to the Olympic National Forest, my mind goes back to the first time we met: I stood breathless, in awe of your beauty.  When I tackled your slopes, you offered me views that I could never imagine.

While you belong to Mother Earth, I will always consider you mine.

Mt. Ellinor-1

It is with my hat in hand, that I come again to share time with you…to find peace in the solace of nature.

It is with this same hat I give a tip to the men and women who make you accessible.  Building up the trails, making what would be an extremely difficult climb into something less strenuous, giving me more time to rest in your brilliance.

Mt. Ellinor-9

The workers of the US National Forest Service (and Mt. Rose Volunteer Trail Crew), give their working life to you, so you can give yourself to me.

You give yourself to all, but forever you will remain free.

A dash of folklore has it that Chief Seattle wrote a letter to the President of the USA, in reply to the government’s offer to purchase the remaining Salish lands.  Within the letter are some of the wisest words ever written:

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“The President in Washington sends word that

He wishes to buy our land.

But how can you buy or sell the sky?   The land?

The idea is strange to us.

 If we do not own the freshness of the air and the

Sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?…”

Respect the wilderness and Mother Nature will in turn respect us.

Mt. Ellinor-6

Ellinor, looking back on our time together, whether under the heat of the sun or huddled in the icy & snowy depths of winter, every time we part I leave a better man.

When the chaos of this international zoo begins to spin out of control, no matter how long we’ve been apart, inevitably I come crawling back and you always take me in.

I am grateful for your unconditional support of this restless wanderer.  Your gift of courage to take that extra step into the unknown.  To achieve greater heights.

Mt. Ellinor-4

Above: Mt. Rainier in the distance.  Below: Descending in the Dark

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My knees ache more today than they did when we first met decades ago, and there will inevitably come a day when all I can do is stare up at your grand magnificence.

Jealousy may arouse in my heart while I watch younger generations march proudly up your slopes, but it will be in the guise of pride.  While impossible, I will always consider you mine.

Mt. Ellinor-17

I will shed a tear when this day comes, not in sadness or envy of those you welcome to your peaks, but a tear of grace for the time we spent together.  I love you and your brothers and sisters who surround you.

The Skokomish Wilderness and Puget Sound that form your front door, will always be there to welcome.

I simply love the life we have shared together.

Mt. Ellinor-8

You share.  You support.  You inspire.  But you do not love.

Unrequited love.  Such love holds no significance to me, for if I love you, I am happy.  With this I am secure.

It is true that you are difficult, cold, and as moody as the unpredictable weather, but when you shine you are the essence of life.  Mt. Ellinor, there are so many incredible places in the world but only in your house do I feel I am home.

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On the topic of ‘unrequited love’ the philosopher Nietzsche had this to say: “indispensable…to the lover is his unrequited love, which he would at no price relinquish for a state of indifference.”

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47 Comments on “The Unrequited Love of Ellinor

  1. Thanks for the beautiful photos revealing Mt. Ellinor, though I have never or may never will be there.

    • Thanks Echo… One of the beautiful things about photography is bringing faraway places to others, and it is very nice when such photos are appreciated. Have a good week!

  2. Another great series Randall. I like the third to the last the best. Great colors and great job bringing out the layers of mountains. As a result this image has great depth.

    • Thanks Mark, really appreciate the comment. The 3rd to last shot was a 7 frame bracketed shot that was processed in Photomatix…as for me it was the only way I could create the layers of mountains. It definitely has the ‘HDR’ look, and at some point I need re-process the photo in Photoshop in greater detail, but technically I am not comfortable with the level of my PS expertise ~ at least not yet 🙂

      • Randall, to me a successful HDR image is one in which you don’t know it is HDR until the artist reveals it as such. You did an exceptional job with this image as I did not know it was and HDR image nor does it look like an HDR image from a processing POV. IMO the image is perfect just the way it is with no need to reprocess. Great job.

      • Thanks for the input Mark, really helpful. The area that caused concern (contrast of the dark peaks with the valley below) was frustrating…but I think you may be right: any more processing may just give it a ‘processed look.’ Cheers

  3. I have spent a few days away near nature and am so amazed at the wonder too. Thank you for the beautiful photos. And especially I always feel tremendous wonder (regarding your last two photos) how the mountains will look so different in summer than in winter, both so beautiful, yet so different.

    • Thanks Sofia, there is nothing like being immersed in nature…so relaxing and beautiful. Thank you for your nice comments. The wintertime really was amazing…so beautiful, peaceful and with so much snow almost unrecognizable when compared to its summer-self.

  4. Randall,
    As usual, your images stun. I don’t know if I could pick a favorite. How do you do it? With this post in particular, though, I love the commentary along with it. I can fully relate to feeling nature is my own, and always has been, and always will be. She is a part of me… I don’t know that I’ve spent much time in the mountains in that part of the States. Somehow your images make them seem prettier than the mountain here, though Lake Tahoe is beautiful… I also loved that you mentioned your gratefulness to the Forest Service who makes such places accessible, and the quote from Chief Seattle was just perfect. How can a government own such a thing, really? I think time has shown us that, in fact, it cannot.
    And actually… I agree with Mark. In re-reviewing the photos, the third from the last is just incredible. My hat is off to you.

    • Wonderful comment Jess, it seems we are in such a great company having so many beautiful places around us (Olympic National Forest, Glacier National Park, Utah National Parks, Oregon and Tahoe…). There is so much freedom when out in nature, I simply forget about the ‘noise’ of life – and all stress vanishes.

      In my photography, sometimes I get so caught up in the what I am seeing and shooting that I do not sit down and just enjoy. This trip back to the States I have been able to do that…and it just increases my appreciation for nature and our national/state parks. Thank you so much for the comment on my photos, they inspire me. Giving inspiration to others is such a great gift, so thank you!

      • Aww, I mean what I say! And I know what you mean about nature and forgetting the noise of life. I could never be a city girl… Even in HK, I lived out in Clear Water Bay… I also know what you mean about sometimes spending too much time behind a lens and not really taking a moment to sit back and just take it all in… I’m not a professional photographer, but I do take hundreds of photos everywhere I go…

        Anyway, glad you’re enjoying your trip to the States. Thanks so much for sharing it with us! 🙂

  5. That is a series of really beautiful images. Simply stunning. Although they are all great, I believe my favourite would be the first one for it’s simplicity and wonderful black and white tones.

    • Thanks Otto, I agree with you on the B&W image…it was the simplicity of the shot that fit and I thought a good lead photo. Many of the great views of nature look so good in B&W, and I am not sure why that is so.

  6. Absolutely breathtaking images Randall. As always you bring such beauty to my porches view 🙂
    You are in love with a grand ole dame,lol
    They have been since before we were and will remain after we are gone. To capture such beauty and share with folks like me who will never see a mountains bottom let alone peak, is the blessing of photography;beautiful photography. I personally love the 6th photograph, seeing vegetation and life in the harshness of winter springs new hope that all things do pass eventually.
    BTW, I love the TITLE, it’s ironic something so much loved,could become the very death of one.(not to be morbid here) but you know what I mean 🙂

    • In love with a grand ole dame indeed 🙂 The mountains in the Pacific Northwest are truly something incredible to experience, it makes me happy to know that I have given you a peek at their majestic beauty. It is the magic of photography…I love looking at old photos and imagining myself there at the time. As for Ellinor, it is a great feeling to run around with all that she offers, but you are so right, there have been many tragic accidents as well (danger of the unrequited love we all have with nature). Thank you again for your great comments!

  7. You published another fantastic post right after I chose a favorite? Not fair!

  8. Simply stunning images Randall! What an amazing landscape. As Otto said, they are all fantastic images but the first one has to be my favourite too. 🙂

    • Thanks Chillbrook, there is so much to shoot right outside my door (any door, any place for anyone) and when the lighting is right, it is hard not to take a nice photo. Appreciate the comment. Cheers!

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  10. Really beautiful images and words. I feel the enjoyment in your post, but with a hint of melancholy. Interesting perspective. I like it!

    • You are right, there is an undercurrent of melancholy… mix in with much joy in climbing her, pure joy for a day or two afterwards. Really enjoyed your blog, you have some great shots of her as well as other Olympic hikes. Very well done.

  11. Wonderful! Thank you for the emotion you give me with this post. I spent a part of my childhood around the mountains behind my grandma’s house. I love their wilderness!

    • There is nothing quite like losing yourself in the mountains and forests ~ brings me back to my childhood as well. Thank you Dana.

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  13. So much beauty, you have captured it well!

  14. Thank you for showing us Mt. Ellinor – a holiday away from the crowd, in the lap of nature, like the one you have described, sounds idyllic. Classic photographs (it’s tough choosing a favourite) and profound thoughts are what makes your writing such a pleasure to read. Loved the excerpt from Chief Seattle’s letter too!

    • 🙂 You’ve seen a place that means quite a bit to me. Since I was a kid, I’d hike and climb everything around her, but she was simply the best: wonderful views, a hard but good/quick hike, and simply love the land. My grandparents had a place on Hood Canal and still today it is the one place I can go and fall into bliss 🙂 If you’re ever in the area, let me know! Cheers, Smitha, and thank you very much.

      • I suppose, a lot of the love for Mt. Ellinor, has to do with her being associated with childhood memories that make you smile. Your comment reminded me of my grandma’s home (I had written a post on it, a long time ago). Thank you for the offer🙂, but I don’t think I will ever visit that side of the world,so, I’m pleased your pictures and words could transport me there…atleast for a while. I see myself at the most at Lake Tahoe someday 🙂.

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