Our awesome neighbor took over our homesteading duties for us, which is nothing to sneer at. Milking goats, feeding pigs, feeding and herding ducks, taking care of our senile dog...
This time, our getaway coincided with our wedding anniversary and Steve's birthday. We celebrated in style. A romantic bed and breakfast stay, you wonder? Nah!
Instead of luxury and candle light, we battled swarms of mosquitoes, risked our lives sliding down a rocky scree cliff, and beat up our bodies climbing thousands of feet.
almost every minute of it.
You know why? Because we got to do what we love: hiking, backpacking, spending uninterrupted time with each other, and communing with our friends, the mountains. In this case, the mountain in question was Mount Rainier. Here (s)he is:
I know, I know... How many pictures can you take of a mountain with wildflowers in it? I took way too many pictures, but how could I help it? Every bend in the trail revealed a better vista. Once we got up to the pass and saw in the other direction, we glimpsed the famous chains of volcanoes (of which Mt Rainier is one): Mount Hood, Mount Adams, and Mount St. Helens with its top blown off (which happened in 1980).
The wildflowers were spectacular.
Steve made fun of me for lugging my pillow up the mountain, but if I sleep in a tent, I want a good pillow. Period.
This hike was recommended to us by a mountain-climber friend who monitors glaciers in national parks for a living. She gets around in the wilderness, and she knew that this hike wouldn't be crowded with people. She was right. By the time we left the main trail to head to our destination called "The Castle", there were no people at all. No wonder. The "trail" was treacherous, exposed, unstable, steep. A paradise for mountain climbing types, of which I am not one. At all. I spent the last part of the hike holding Steve's hand in a vice grip for fear of falling.
Talk about bonding.
Just before reaching "The Castle", we lost the trail and thus scrambled up to a saddle, which revealed a gorgeous lake on the other side. The lake was located hundreds of feet down a scree field. We wanted to be down there, which meant descending down this steep field of loose rocks. Steve thought I would never go for it. Not wanting to be a wussy, I suggested to slide down. He looked at me skeptically, then led the way. I had to wait since I didn't want to loosen an avalanche of heavy rocks on top of him.
When he was far enough down for me to follow, he yelled up at me and coached me how to best survive this: sliding on my butt, bracing with both legs, letting the heavy backpack slow me down. I did just that, and in the middle of it, my sleeping bag detached from my pack and started bouncing down, down, down, towards the lake. Steve yelled, "Don't worry, it will stop!"
We watched it merrily gain speed, and a minute later, cheerfully land in the lake.
"Don't worry, you can use my sleeping bag!" Steve yelled.
A few harrowing minutes later, we made it to the lake. My butt is still scratched up today.
|This is why we got lost. Do you see a trail here? No? We didn't either. That's why we took our "shortcut" to the lake. On the way back, however, we took "the trail", hugging the steep slope. It was insane.|
Happy to have survived, we found a place to set up camp, cooked dinner, rested our weary legs, watched the sunset, and reveled in our good fortune.
Ahhhhhhh.... How I love this wild country. How I love my life. How I love my man. Happy anniversary to us!