As you start to spend time in Washington's National Parks and forests, you begin to notice how differently people experience these parks, trails, and natural areas. As someone from a part of the world where such heavily wooded areas are not so prevalent, just about every hiking trail through the forest in Washington is like a walk through another world -- it's completely mesmerising. For others, it's just about getting to the end and the reward that lies there - be it a lake, a waterfall, or a beach. And for a few, it's just something that they begrudgingly have to do because they're forced into it by someone they're with.
For the majority of people however, the goal is the end of the trail. It becomes a competition in some aspects - to see how quickly you can hike that 3 miles of 3500ft elevation gain.
What you miss, is the journey that takes you there, and those standing by on your way.
Standing tall in solidarity, proud of the forest they all form and share together, are the trees. At first glance they appear like obstacles, but when you slow down and really take a moment to stand next to them, it becomes evident how very different each of them is. Just like no two humans are the same, every tree is different, with its own experiences and story to tell. At an even closer look, they take on shapes and forms that start to resemble people, and the photographs of these trees become more like portraits - each of them unique with their own story to tell. A little bit of personality even starts to shine through.
A grandfather. A woman. A brother. Families. Strangers. And they all get bypassed in a split second. Though, when you stop and look, the faces in the crowd start to form and their story comes out.