Cassie Van Domelen gets her “soul realigned” on the Matterhorn Peak in the Wallowa-Whitman Wilderness, as described in her essay “Fall Pilgrimage: Some Thoughts on Faith,” in the current issue of Deep Wild Journal. Here’s how her journey starts:

    “1.     Hiked up a mountain with a 40-lb pack, 3.3 miles up the west fork of the Wallowa River, then 5.7 miles and 3,000 feet of elevation gain switchbacking up the flank of the Matterhorn to reach Ice Lake, turquoise water framed by peaks of granite and marble, cinder and slate. All I’d done to train for this was lie on the sofa watching TV and drinking beer. So I pretty much got what we all know I had coming.

    2.     My eyes went funny a mile and a half from the top. People’s faces grew weirdly indistinct, my boots went missing, the ground got lost, then everything was waves and sparkles, and I sat down and took off my pack and turned my head side to side one hundred times while working that acupressure point on my elbow. Then I went ahead and wrang my own neck. Vision straightened out. Proceeded with the climb, migraine averted. (This only works sometimes.)

3.      Staked my tent out before the mountain, on a back bay of the lake. Slept fitfully on a stupid little bedroll, but once I threw back the fly in the morning, I didn’t care anymore about the cold, or the ground, or my poor excuse for a pillow.”

Visit to get the rest of her story. The Fall Sale is underway for the 2020 issue of Deep Wild. $16 postage paid gets you 150+ pages of wild words by 41 writers.

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