When I was in high school, I lived near a place we called the Stairway to Heaven - a massive outcropping of granite that vaguely resembled a series of natural steps leading toward the sky. I never did know the official name of that place. But in those days, the rocks were painted many times over with all manner of graffiti: declarations of love, references to drugs and vulgarity, a few political statements, and various attempts at artistic expression. The human messages were not especially heavenly, but the natural landscape was always quite stunning.
Some of the graffiti remains, but most has been removed. Nowadays, people use this Stairway to Heaven for recreational purposes, mostly rock climbing and hiking.
Now that spring is returning, I feel compelled to visit the outdoors and re-connect with nature. The Stairway to Heaven seemed like a perfect place to begin.
The steps to heaven were covered with vibrant buttercups and a blanket of new green grass.
A close view of the buttercups...
An abundance of flowers...
The trees are bursting with new life.
At the summit of the stairway, a single pine has taken root between the rocks. As the roots grow and expand, the tree will eventually accelerate the process of natural erosion.
Metal anchors have been drilled into the rock for the climbers.
A marmot keeps watch...
Downtown Spokane is visible from the summit.
...and Felts Field.
...and Upriver Dam.
Some of the graffiti remains.
A graffiti artist waxed poetic and quoted
A Feast of Friends, by The Doors:
Death makes angels of us all
And gives us wings
Where we had shoulders
Smooth as raven's claws
The American Indian Movement
was memorialized by this graffiti.
...and the ideal of peace.
The ruins of an abandoned building.
An old tree planted by people many years ago.
The raging water escapes the floodgates of the dam.