Trail Magic

This past weekend the Mr and I went adventuring in new terrain.  Mt Seymour is covered in forest and has as many as forty trails that are popular all year round.

Once you reach the top you find yourself gazing on the magnificent Mt Baker in Washington State.  My cellphone camera did not do it justice but I wanted to share something of the view with you.  I hope you like it as much as I do 🙂

Mt Baker

We reached the top via a series of dedicated and winding trails and if you’re ever in this part of the world I highly recommend you visit the North Shore mountains which are part of the Cascades Range.   We weren’t long on Old Buck trail when we came across scraps of cloth tied to a single tree trunk.  What made this particularly interesting was that this ‘marker’ (if indeed it is a marker) is bright and colourful.  There is purple, red and white cloth and for some reason I felt that it was somehow symbolic but of what?  Did it have something to do with tree identification? or did someone fall here or worse?

Mr. was having none of my ‘theorizing’ and so I wasn’t allowed to linger but no worries…I know why I walk in the woods.  It’s for the vital stimulation of my imaginative membrane and not as the Mr. says for ‘peace and quiet’.

A little further along I spotted a purple cloak hanging from a low branch of a tree a short distance from the trail.  It was hanging in such a way that if you are not observant as opposed to attentive you would have walked past it with nary a care. This purple cloak is like one of those velvety cloaks worn by magicians or wizards or deathly-afraid-of-the-cold unicorns. Yes, I know.  You’re thinking I am making this up.  I’m not.  if you haven’t already, read earlier posts to see how I am confronted with intrigue at almost every turn.

I want to add here that I despise litterbugs and that for the most part hikers in our part of the world are decent human beings with a respect for the environment, so it probably goes without saying that I don’t like finding items of clothing (or condoms and beer cans).

Pointing to the tree from which hung The Offending Article, I asked the Mr if he thought Harry Potter was visiting.


“Harry Potter? There’s a cape hanging from that tree.” I said pointing.

On seeing the cape Mr. shook his head.

‘Let’s keep moving.”

“Why? you scared of magic?” I think I pulled one of those ‘you’re- a- scaredy-cat – and- I’m -going-to-blog-about-it’ faces.

Mr felt the need to remind that he has ‘years’ of military experience.  Something about ‘reconnaissance’ experience in the field.

“Yeah.  Whatever.  I’m going to look at the cape.”  Off I trudged.

The cloak looks new and clean and is a mystery as is the circle of painted rocks (purple, yellow, red, blue) a few metres from the cloak.   I did take my cellphone out to take a picture but something stopped me.  Was it fear of reprisal from the faeries or a circle of wizards?


When faced with the unknown or the inscrutable and confusing Mr. sums it up to ‘the work of teenagers’.

‘Teenagers, then.” I said, leaving the mystery behind me.creek

Do you have a theory?  I would love to hear from you.


41 thoughts on “Trail Magic

  1. I would guess teenagers who pick up their beer cans, but are a little too buzzed to remember their cloak.
    I was laughing, Yolanda, I’m big on theorizing too! 🙂 I’m convinced that the couple up the street who’ve had their house for sale by owner for EIGHT years are selling drugs out of the house. The for sale sign is merely a cover. 🙂
    That’s a beautiful photo, thanks for sharing!

  2. First, Yolanda, I loved the stunning picture. Amazing.
    I’m still smiling at the strips of colored cloths. I have two interpretations to share. We have friends who have tied strips of cloths on certain trees in Rocky Mountain Natl. Park. If there are two strips, one pink and one blue, it means that the two of them–the couple–have made love in the shadow at the base of the tree. If there are three–children’s hair ribbons and a strip of jeans fabric–it means that their three children have used this as a potty tree.
    They mark everything. Go figure. But it’s what they do. 😉

  3. I loved this post, photograph was great and the story of your walk very nice, too. I am surprised at your concern about taking a picture of the magical purple cape, after all, it would be ‘proof!’ I am not one who features photos but enjoy seeing others and feeling like I could have been on that path, too. Wonderful and thought-provoking post. I would have left the cape, hoping the owner would return to get it, maybe on a circular path or another day?

    • I hear you 😀 but I felt like I was somehow imposing by taking photos – doesn’t really make sense does it? since no one was actually around. It felt like I walked into someone’s sanctuary even if it was where teens gather to make mischief 😉

  4. I lost my breath momentarily at the photos! Wow! The cape was left by fairies so that you would assume there were big people nearby and leave, leaving the fairies to their own mischief.

  5. Yolanda I would use it in a story. I had a similar thing happen where I usedrive by this red parker swaying in the breeze and hanging from a fence. It moved like someone was in it. I wrote a short ghost story about this coat. Happy writing, you were in the fairy realm by the looks of those beautiful photos. Kath.

    • Your comment on the red parker helped me remember a farm we used to drive past on our way down to the coast (this was back in Africa) where people started leaving their caps on a fence. Have no idea when or why that started…I would love to read your ghost story Kath 🙂

      • Thanks Yolanda and then there’s those folks who nail their shoes to a tree I hate that they defile a beautiful tree in this way and I don’t understand it. I may put my story up on my site for a bit of fun.

      • I hope you will put it up Kath. I look forward to reading it. I am toying with the idea of posting a short story of my own. Sadly no ghosts or fairies 😀

  6. But was the purple strip of cloth the same as the cloak? Had it been left the by the same person? Was it leading you to something? Was it a SIGN? Whatever it was, you’ve got loads of inspiration for a story, plus you had a wonderful walk in the fresh air and shared those fabulous pictures with us. Great post, Yolanda. 😊

  7. Yes, Yolanda, like my husband. Exactly. But I (and you know I would) find it especially mysterious. And odd. As if someone had been there, doing something. Especially in such a remote part of the world and in that elevation!!!! Beautiful photograph of the mountain. Very interesting trip.

  8. You watch out for purple cloaks. I be scanning for grizzly bears.

    That’s quite a gorgeous view. Nothing like it here on the east coast, though Maine offers some pretty spectacular vistas facing the ocean.

      • 😀 As Pauline, the Contented Crafter, shared this week:

        I want to be magic. I want to touch the heart of the world and make it smile. I want to be a friend of elves and live in a tree. Or under a hill. I want to marry a moonbeam and hear the stars sing. I don’t want to pretend at magic any more. I want to be magic. ~ Charles de Lint

        Ooh . . . maybe the original owner of the cloak befriended the elves and is now living in a tree, or under a hill, with no further need for the cloak!

    • Lovely to meet you Dana! Thank you for the compliment 🙂 and may I say you are a wonderful writer. Your Autumn inspired post has left me craving for something sweet and spicy!

  9. Maybe the owner of the cloak was invisible and standing right next to you the entire time. Or maybe there is a secret sect of wizards and witches in the forest (your experience with this sounds like it would make a great start to a story) 😉

    I love the pictures – that first one is magnificent! xxxx

  10. How wonderful and what inspiration potential! There is a tradition of tying bits of cloth (and other objects) to trees as offerings. And then the cloak and the painted rocks in a circle – a gathering of witches perhaps who made magic in the circle but one of them forgot their cloak!

    • My thoughts exactly Andrea about the gathering of witches 😀 and what a colourful bunch they are! had no idea though that you could make an offering of bits of cloth! interesting!

  11. I’m with Eric … dancing bears and they were hiding because they didn’t want to give themselves away. Like a Farside cartoon 😉 I don’t think it likely it was a prank. How long could teenagers wait to see if someone picks up the cloak? I’ve come across clothing on hikes and always wonder …. Most of the time the clothing is soiled but because it had been on the ground for a while. There’s a story in that purple cloak, Yolanda 🙂 By the way, love the photographs. What a beautiful place you live in.

    • Vancouver, British Columbia – Best Place On Earth 🙂 This cloak wasn’t soiled (although I didn’t get to give it a close inspection). It was just hanging there waiting for it’s bear owner 😉

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