Mountains: Beauty Without Words

Elder Taoist
Published in
5 min readNov 4, 2022


Sometimes too many words takes away from the natural beauty of nature.

Mount Denali, Alaska (Author’s photo)

I have been struggling with how to write about what mountains mean to me. The words would not come. And then I realized, I didn’t need many words. I just had to share individual pictures of my encounters with mountains, give them some context, and let the reader appreciate the beauty that the mountains share with everyone who looks for it.

A reader’s feelings about the pictures would mean more to them than anything I could write. My poor words might describe what the mountains mean to me. They could never capture the emotions that the mountains bring out in someone else.

I lived in Anchorage, Alaska for fifteen years. Anchorage sits in a bowl that is surrounded on most sides by mountains. With six months of winter, you get used to seeing the mountains covered in snow and ice. Here are some of favourite Alaskan mountain encounters.

A springtime view of some of the mountains I would see when I walked to work in Anchorage. (Author’s photo)
A close up summertime view of one of the Anchorage mountains. Not nearly as impressive as when it is covered in snow. However, a lot easier to climb with my dog. (Author’s photo)
Me and my dog sitting on the side of the mountain in the prior picture. (Coastal Gale photo — used with permission)

About 30 miles south of Anchorage is the village of Girdwood. The mountains nearby are much craggier than the ones near Anchorage.

One of the mountains in Girdwood, with a hanging glacier on the front side. (Author’s photo)

There are also some interesting mountain hikes near Girdwood. In the winter one wonders how anything can live in the ice, snow, and cold. In fact, there is plenty of life. Here are some pictures from my Crow Pass hike showing some of the inhabitants. As is my wont, I was alone on this hike. I was fortunate in that I didn’t run into any other people and had the trail to myself.

A view of the trail and valley behind me as I climbed to Crow Pass. (Author’s photo)
A pika wondering what I am doing near his home on the Crow Pass trail. (Author’s photo)
As I climbed higher I got to exchange greetings with this fat, healthy mountain goat. (Author’s photo)
As I neared the top of the pass, this mama ptarmigan did a pretty good job of hiding among the rocks, grass, and wildflowers. (Author’s photo)
Her baby was even harder to see! (Author’s photo)
Here I am at the top of the pass. (Author’s photo — taken with a timer)
Just over the pass and little to the right of the picture above is this glacier. (Author’s photo)

As this was a day trip, I had to head back down. Here are one of the alpine flowers in full bloom. They are so small and delicate!

Alpine flower in bloom. (Author’s photo)

There are many other mountain hikes I could share but I’ll save those for another day. Although now that I’m retired I don’t live as close to the big mountains as I used to, I still get to see this mountain every day (well at least when it isn’t cloudy).

Mount Baker in Washington State, as seen from my vegetable garden. (Author’s photo)

I hope you enjoyed my Alaska mountain reminiscences.

Thank you for reading!

I am frequently inspired by other writers on Medium. Here are some I’ve particularly enjoyed reading recently:

My article was prompted by

and her first week of November nature prompt:

shared this fun article about her Christmas Cactus that is blooming well in advance of its usual season.

My Christmas Cactus is doing the same thing:

(Author’s photo)

has a great eye for the beauty of nature. Here is one of her pieces that I particularly enjoyed.

I wish to thank new people who recently chose to follow me and my writing. Your interest encourages me to continue writing.

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Thank you for following me!

Additionally, I would like to thank people who recently engaged with my writing. Given the changes going on at Medium, it is unclear when and how individual articles are distributed, hence this list of tags. If any of you would like to be excluded from my tags in the future, please, please let me know!

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And finally, I want to thank

, , and as the editors of Reciprocal for the incredible support they provide to writers.

I wish you well!

The Elder Taoist ☯



Elder Taoist

Septuagenarian Autistic/Asperger with HSP and OCD tendencies. Does math for fun. Endlessly curious about connectedness of nature, from stars to trees to bugs.