Last winter when I had to turn around on measly Poo Poo Point because I was in such horrendous shape, I vowed that by summer I would be in good enough condition to make it to Camp Muir, the climbers’ camp on the most popular route on Mount Rainier. At around ten miles and 4,600 feet of elevation gain I figured it would be a good goal, but the real test is that the camp is all the way up at 10,188 feet (3105 meters), higher than I had ever been before – the highest mountain in Norway is 2469 meters…
Well, summer came around and I was definitely in shape to do it, but between a lack of cooperating weather and some conflicting backpacking trips, we never got around to visiting Muir – so with the promise of excellent weather this Sunday, JK, Carlos and I decided we should finally go for it! I was a little worried about coughing up a lung or two since this would be my first hike after the flu, but I really needed a beautiful day in the mountains after my pathetic attempts at climbing in our class the day before (more on this later when I’m feeling less ridiculous and/or traumatized).
The sun was out, the sky was blue and everything was just perfect. I got to test my post-plague lungs on the hill up to Panorama Point, and luckily all my innards stayed where they were supposed to be:
JK was on camera duty this time to make up for bossing me around as his personal photographer the last time we went to Rainier, but I did get some shots of my happy husband in his natural element as Mountain Man:
As we got higher and higher the wind really started to pick up, so I put on my Tellytubby costume and hiked on:
I felt fantastic until the last 1000 vertical feet, then my body started noticing the thinner air. We could see Camp Muir ahead of us, but no matter how far we walked it just didn’t seem to get any closer…
At long last we made it. Huzzah! Once we stopped moving I felt great again, but JK and Carlos had headaches and were getting nauseous because of the altitude, so we just ate some food, took a few photos, then headed back down again. I was intrigued by the wheelchair accessible outhouse:
The way down was great, we didn’t need snowshoes anymore and could plunge-step most of the way. Once we had descended a bit the boys started feeling back to normal as well.
There are few things more beautiful that seeing the afternoon light on Mount Rainier. Have I mentioned I love living here??
…and as if the day hadn’t been perfect enough, we were greeted by this beautiful fox once we were back on the road:
We’ve been on some excellent hikes this year, but this was by far the best!