Everyday Heroes: Musical Mountaineers play for the Cascades
Early on a crisp, foggy morning at Stevens Pass, two women prepared for their journey.
"Even just driving here, even last night I had a hard time sleeping ... because I'm thinking about it and I'm so excited," Anastasia Allison said.
Allison and Rose Freeman set off clomping up the mountain, like the wilderness explorers that they are.
By the time they got to the edge of Skyline Lake, the blowing crystals of snow and the fog combined to form a frozen haze.
And on and on they marched, blending in at times with the whiteness around them.
The higher they went, the more breathtaking it became.
And then they reached the spot, a kind of natural amphitheater atop a ridge, high up in the Cascades.
The two disappeared behind a tree and then came out again, inexplicably wearing dresses.
And then, in the cold and the snow, on top of a mountain, the silence is broken and they make their offering with music.
"Being out here and being able to play is just absolutely incredible ... and the silence and the stillness and how peaceful it is," Freeman said.
The two call themselves the "Musical Mountaineers." They are classically trained but they play all kinds of music.
"I mean this violin is this delicate fragile thing and it shouldn't be in the mountains," Allison said. "It should be in a concert hall, but then I think, 'wow, my concert hall is the Cascade Range.'"
The concert above Skyline Lake wasn't their only unlikely performance into the emptiness. They also climbed Mt. Dickerman and played a song from Lord of the Rings.
"To play music on the mountain is bringing that delicacy and intentional beauty to something that is really quite contrasting to our music," Freeman said.
On Sauk Mountain in the North Cascades, they played "Amazing Grace." And at Artist Point on New Year's Eve, it was "Auld Lang Syne."
"As musical artists you sort of release these notes and after we're done playing this piece there's just this beautiful moment of no music, and so you have this contrast of just sort of envisioning these notes drifting up into the world and knowing that we were able to express our gratitude for just being a part of that day," Allison said.
And of course the question is, why?
Maybe it's their gift to the world.
Maybe it's their excuse to explore.
Maybe it makes them feel something they can't find anywhere else.
But why pick it apart? Why does there have to be a reason?
This thing that the Musical Mountaineers do, these notes left in the wilderness are beautiful.
"Even if we don't have an audience, our audience is the Cascades...and what is more special than that?" Allison said.