Snoqualmie Tunnel (Seattle, WA)

I am walking as if in a dream. The mid morning sun makes the sweat on my skin begin to break out. I look around me and notice that I am with friends, better yet I am with family. We are laughing our spirits are strong like the sun. Until suddenly near the entrance of the tunnel we feel it….a frigid wind, that enshrouds us in a light fog. We all stop talking and stare in awe at the massive entrance to the old railroad tunnel. Our laughter catches in our throats as we see the impossible darkness that lies ahead of us.

David steps forth first with sudden confidence and is followed by Edric, Lauren, Malcolm and I. And suddenly this pleasant warm dream that I am in starts to shift. With each step further into the black nothingness I realize I am afraid. It is not only dark but wet and icy cold. A hostile place. We flip our lights on and off, offering the spirits of the tunnel our bravery and our fears. The pinpoint of light in the distance is becoming us deeper and deeper into the bowels of the mountain. It seems closer than it appears. We press on.

With the lights on, it is frightening enough but without lights your mind starts to play with you as a cat with its helpless prey. You hear strange voices, see images and even believe you are walking a straight line when you suddenly find yourself bumping the sides of the tunnel. By now the cold has crept into my bones, I feel as if I cannot remember ever being warm before it is so deep in me.

This hike is one that is as much physical as it is psychological. Fascinating and unique to each person it is like something out of a fairy tale story. And so it also has a happy ending. Once we reached the other side the scenery and warmth felt so delicious it is almost too much to bear. Finally the return and finally the exit back where we came. When we approached the door we sang Glory Hallelujah loudly and proudly. It was an amazing accomplished feeling!

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