Lady Of The Mountain

She doesn’t have an email address, she doesn’t have an answering machine, she doesn’t have a cell phone. Why? She would tell you that she doesn’t have time for such things. You are more likely to get in touch with her by hiking halfway up to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier than any modern technological means.

In 1949, Bronka Sundstrom and her husband Aki brought their lives to Tacoma WA, from Sweden. A polish survivor of a concentration camp during the war, Bronka found peace in hiking with Aki around Mt. Rainier National Park, and later retired to Ashford at the base of mountain. Her desire to share that love spread as she volunteered on the trails in the park, recognized easily by her usual bright red hiking tights.

"If it weren’t for the mountains, I wouldn’t be the person I am today," she says. "Or the person I hope to be when I am 90. The mountains teach us of independence, strength, confidence, and beauty."

So while we are texting our friends about our “getting out” plans, googling our topo map for route descriptions, drowning in our gps data points, Bronka is already boots on the trail and will meet you for tea later…if you can keep up.

She reminded me that life is meant to be lived, not dwelling in our struggles, or the frivolities of the day to day, but rather through our own two feet. The feet that take us out the door every morning, absorbing the earth from the souls up, pressing into each new step, and rooting us into the spirit of the earth; now that is an adventure.