Fragrance Lake, Larabee State Park: 5.5 miles // 950 feet elevation gain
I gotta say, we could not have asked for a more beautiful February day for the first ever meeting of the Alpine Trails Book Club! Some dark clouds threatened in the morning, but we reached the lake just in time to bask in the sunshine. The six of us (and two dogs) got an early start as we headed up the switchbacks through green forest with some impressive old growth cedars. We saw a woodpecker and heard other various birds chirping throughout the forest- a sure sign of spring to come!
At the lake we paused to check out the fascinating sandstone rock formations with their improbably clinging trees and found a sunny spot to rest and have lunch. We talked a bit about the book- everyone that read it loved it- and I shared some of my favorite quotes:
“Jack would have spoken to her, but her eyes – the broken blue of river ice, glacial crevasses, moonlight – held him.”
“I see that life itself is often more fantastic and terrible than the stories we believed as children, and that perhaps there is no harm in finding magic among the trees”
“We never know what is going to happen, do we? Life is always throwing us this way and that. That’s where the adventure is. Not knowing where you’ll end up or how you’ll fare. It’s all a mystery, and when we say any different, we’re just lying to ourselves. Tell me, when have you most felt alive?”
We discussed poetry- did you catch the reference to Robert Service in the book? He wrote about the gold rush in the Yukon and his poems really speak to the hardships of the time but also the draw on the beauty and adventure of the north. The Spell of the Yukon is my favorite poem of his. You may have also caught another reference to a famous poet, Emily Dickinson, during the wedding scene (which we all agreed was a favorite part of the book!) with “Hope” is the Thing With Feathers.
After lunch we finished circling the lake and headed back down the trail. We passed many hikers and dogs on their way up and then took the short spur trail to the overlook. We were glad we saved it for last since the clouds dispersed and left us with beautiful blue skies. Our hike, thankfully, did not evoke the intense cold that Mabel, Jack and the snow child endured, nor did we encounter any snow, but the wintry green forests of the northwest always have a bit of magic and mystery in them to me.
If you loved the book as much as I did, you will be happy to know that the author, Eowyn Ivey, has a new book coming in August called To The Bright Edge of the World about an 1885 expedition to Alaska. I’m super excited for it!
For those of you who read the book but couldn’t make it to the hike- I would love for you to leave a comment and tell me what you thought of the book!
Want to join the club and find out the scoop on the next hike and book selection? Sign up here!