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The 4,390-foot summit of Silver Star Mountain is easily visible from much of the Portland and Vancouver area, and visible from my deck.
Over the years, we have put a portion of the ashes from my mother, father and niece on the summit. They will enjoy the location.
The views are open and far-reaching on a clear day, including the snow-covered summits of the high Cascade volcanoes.
Deer are often nearby, as are black bears when the huckleberries ripen in the autumn. Less than one mile away are Indian pits used for tribal religious ceremonies in the long past.
I imagine at times the spirits of the Indians and my father sitting around an open campfire telling wild and wooly stories about hunting and other adventures. My mother and niece have joined them. And, one of these days, so will I.
Even though I miss them, they are always close by in my heart.
Each year I return to the summit to honor them. This year I made the trip in early July when the wildflowers were at their peak, as were the butterflies.
A tough hike, but always fulfilling.