Darryl Lloyd has explored forests, mountains and seas all over the world, but he always comes home to his favorite location on the planet — Mount Adams.
The second-tallest peak in Washington state, which he can see on a clear day from his home across the Columbia River Gorge in Hood River, stands at 12,280 feet — more than 2,000 feet short of Mount Rainier and about 1,000 feet taller than Mount Hood's snowy summit.
Like with Mount Hood, the Mount Adams Wilderness has been a magnetic force drawing climbers, hikers, photographers, nature lovers and adventurers of all types over the past century.
Now at age 75, Lloyd has released the book "Ever Wild: A Lifetime on Mount Adams," with stories and his own photos documenting the human history, geography, geology and botany of the region. He doesn't intend the heavy paperback to be a guidebook of any sort.
In fact, his book is more a memoir of the place, discussing subjects ranging from wildfires to climate change to efforts by the nonprofit Friends of Mount Adams. He formed the group in 2004 and worked with his twin brother and fellow explorer, Darvel Lloyd, in response to a proposed development, which eventually was thwarted by the Yakama Tribal Council.
"Hopefully, my book will help show the complexity and the character and uniqueness of the mountain, especially the massiveness," beyond the most popular and easily accessible south side, Lloyd says. "The east face takes up half the sky when you're standing on Goat Butte," the nearby pointy ranges visible in the distance.
While Mount Adams is bordered by the Yakama Indian Reservation to the east, many hikers have traversed the area along the Pacific Crest Trail.
On a mid-August back-packing trip along 30 miles of the trail with my son and his Scout troop, I was humbled by Mount Adams' hulking, half-snow-covered form rising from the meadows and lakes where we picked wild huckleberries, admired the Indian paintbrush and purple lupines and camped under the stars.
As we trekked through parts of the alpine forest on the south side where wildfires burned in recent years, the scarred trees were on the surface a sad sight, but also one of strength and resilience.
Thanks to advocates like Lloyd, Mount Adams and the wilderness area will be around long after we're gone.
The mountain is more than just one popular trail. Growing up on a ranch at the mountain's base, Lloyd devoted his life to learning the mountain, observing the ebb and flow of its glaciers, photographing the play of light, wandering lush meadows and old-growth forests, hiking boulder-strewn slopes and scaling icefalls.
When it comes to getting out into natural areas, whether it's Mount Adams or elsewhere, Lloyd urges Leave No Trace practices. Those rules include taking care to tread lightly by packing out all waste, seeking out less-trafficked trails and respecting wildlife around them.
"Don't step on flowers," says Lloyd, who's climbed to the summit of Mount Adams by nine different routes since 1961, when he was in high school, and during his seven-year stint as a Merchant Marine sea captain.
"Keep your head up," he adds. "Try to be aware and learn about what's around you. Be interested in the plants that you see. Just absorb the experience that is this incredible nature around you."
Lloyd will present slides and photos from "Ever Wild" to the public at these venues:
n Sept. 6, 6:30 p.m. — REI Hillsboro, 2235 N.W. Allie Ave., Hillsboro
n Sept. 12, 7 p.m. — Mountain Shop, 1510 N.E. 37th Ave.
n Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m. — Powell's Books on Hawthorne, 3723 S.W. Hawthorne Blvd. (In conversation with Christina Colasurdo, author of "Return to Spirit Lake")
n Sept. 19, 6:30 p.m. — REI Tualatin, 7410 S.W. Bridgeport Rd., Tigard
n Oct. 9, 7 p.m. — Oregon Historical Society, 1200 S.W. Park Ave.
n Oct. 24, 7 p.m. — Broadway Books, 1714 N.E. Broadway Ave.
n Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m. — REI Portland, 1405 N.W. Johnson St.
n Nov. 7, 7 p.m. — Mazamas Mountaineering Center, 527 S.E. 43rd St.
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