Insider 7-14-2011

It's summertime in Seattle, and that means the great cloud spirit occasionally disgorges the sun long enough to warm the air and replenish the people’s vitamin D for a few precious hours. In an effort to pack as much Summer Fun™ in the brief hours it is available, my girlfriend and I embarked on a psychotic, one-day tour of the outdoor activities available in the Pacific Northwest.

During this grueling death march of kayaking, hiking, and waterfall observation, my mind was still reeling from the workweek. Less than a day earlier, I had completed my responsibilities on HORDES: Domination, and my head was still filled with warlocks, beasts, and stranger creatures. It was inevitable that as I read the descriptions of trails, mountains, and other natural features written by state park officials or enthusiastic Seattle outdoorsmen that I would begin to consider how to improve upon them. That is to say, how to make them as unconquerably badass as the model entries and quotations I’d been slaving over for weeks.

Lake Union Kayaking
I’d stake my fortunes on a rowboat in the Wailing Sea afore I’d take a kayak upon Lake Union.
–Broadsides Bart

From our docks we have launched countless souls upon the abyssal waters of Lake Union. Those with hearts of steel and the puissance of oxen can row mightily from the dockside heart of East Lake all the way to the vasty deeps of Lake Washington. This great inland sea teems with savage life and the rowers must be ever wary of winged eagle above and toothsome salmon lurking below, both eager to feast upon the flesh of a capsized sailor.

Rattlesnake Ledge
Life and death sit a precarious balance upon the Ledge.
–Baldur the Stonesoul

Rattlesnake Ledge is a monolithic block of stone on the eastern end of Rattlesnake Ridge, towering high over the unnatural green waters of Rattlesnake Lake and the blackened wilds of the Snoqualmie River valley. The rock face appears sheer and impregnable and may only be reached by the most dangerous of mountain trails. The primeval forest broods around the trail and to leave its safety exposes the unwary traveler to all manner of hideous creatures intent upon the blood of the unwary. The seemingly endless upward march is rewarded with a view expanding well beyond the limits of sanity. The green hell of primal forest is a daunting sight, reminding even the most intrepid of their insignificance next to the Devourer Wurm.

Snoqualmie Falls
The cold water shines like the dragon’s frigid breath upon the world.
–Rhyas, Sigil of Everblight

Every second, over one billion gallons of water pour over the unstoppable Snoqualmie Falls. The gods strove mightily and from their labors in the living stone were the falls hewn. Those caught in the powerful current are hurled to their deaths upon the massive boulders the valley floor. Carrion birds circle endlessly above, waiting to exact their bloody toll on the brutalized corpses that whirl in the eddies below.