Without Further Ado: The Mt. Rainier Gondola

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John and I know a thing or two about waiting. When he was sick, we waited for word from his doctors. Praying they would find a liver donor before the cancer spread, our lives were reduced to small increments–manageable time chunks that we could survive. Sometimes we got through just fifteen minutes at a time.

So, when Crystal Mountain’s new Mt. Rainier Gondola was delayed last month, people asked me how we were handling the stress. I just smiled. Waiting for the Gondola was nothing.

After waiting for a liver transplant and surviving cancer, nothing ever feels too big anymore. In fact, I want to capture every precious moment and put it in my pocket. Yesterday the Gondola opened to a sunny, windless day at Crystal.  John and I cut the ribbon, rode to the top and held our arms out wide and the beautiful world.

It was a day to hold in my pocket. Watching little children, their arms held out straight from the twenty-five sweaters and pairs of long underwear beneath their snowsuits, line up in front of Mt. Rainier for photographs, I felt triumphant. When John first came to Crystal fourteen years ago, he envisioned a gondola to the summit.  Yesterday that dream became a reality.  I love it when a plan comes together.

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9 responses »

  1. Beautiful Post Kim. I think we have some new camera angles from the Gondola. Tell John Thank you! for all the hard work that we can enjoy.

    Cheers,

    Jeff Caven

  2. Thanks Kim and John,
    yesterday was a day I, too, will put in my ‘pocket’ forever, something to pull out if I need a reminder what a truly beautiful day looks like.
    Liz

  3. Beautiful shots, beautiful thoughts. Sometimes when things get stressful, I remember the moment an old boyfriend and I hit a moose on a freeway, did a 180, and got hit almost head-on by another car. As glass crashed and metal crunched, I wondered if we’d die. When I stepped out of the car, I asked myself, “What are you going to do with the rest of your life?” Other times, I remember two years ago when I went into surgery and woke wondering if I had cancer. When I found out the tumor was benign, I thought, “Great! I can publish my memoir and finish my novel.”

    A brush with mortality is a scary reminder of what faces us all someday and how short is our time with those we love. But what a gift, that it also reminds us of the miracle of being here now, and how precious is our time with those we love.

    …and how magical it is to fly down a mountain – I can’t wait to go skiing this month!

    • Well said Cara. Perhaps that is why I seek adventure–because it draws near those reminders. And yes, skiing lets you fly down a mountain. What could be a better reminder to live fully?

  4. Hello Kim — What a glorious week we had up at Crystal! I’ve just read your blog and learned so much! We did the King on 12/31 just before the sunset and it was just exquisite…it really is a very special section of the mountain. What a wonderful place to spread your dogs ashes.
    What a challenging time you and John have been through, your perspective is valuable to all.
    The gondola is spectacular! We loved riding it during the day to see the views. But, flying up in the dark to the Summit House for that delicious, festive meal on 1/1/11 was something I will always remember, truly a splendid evening!

    Thank you for all you did to make it happen.
    Happy New Year! Emily

    • Emily,
      I’m thrilled you had such nice weather on your trip to Crystal. The views were endless, the air was crisp-sharp and the snow sparkled. How could it get any better? Thanks for subscribing to my blog; hope you enjoy it.
      Best,
      Kim

  5. Anyone notice how steamed up the cabin is in this photo? I was just perusing my blog and took a closer look. Sheesh. What were those guys doing in there? Wait. Maybe I don’t want to know.

    • Glad you liked the photography. Mostly done on the point-and-shoot I keep in my radio harness. I enjoyed reading your blog post about your first official photo shoot. Congrats. I’ve been to Zion and it’s amazing. You capture it well.

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