The trip started out when I wanted to organize a trip up Dark Peak (next to Bonanza Peak) which I met Ian on Cascadeclimbers which we did this trip as a warm up. Once again I was spending hours away (2.5 each way) riding on the Bus to get to Federal Way. Back in these days it felt like part of the journey was getting there (the trail head). Then once I got off at my last stop I dashed on over to Ian's place which it was now dark out. We then headed off to Mount Rainier.
Anticipation buildingWhen we got to Longmire the gate was closed which I had expected it to be. We then slept in the back of the car. As I got out in the middle of the night a watchful fox comes around which I was pleased to see wildlife in the park.
When we woke up which was at 8 a.m. in the morning the gate was still closed. I was starting to get annoyed but figured well hopefully they open at 9. At 9 I then found out they wouldn't open until 10!
I looked over at Mount Rainier which was absolutely glowing, and I could help but be disappointed because this was the only nice day there was and I knew our chances of being able to make it to Camp Muir would be low. Eventually they open the gate a bit after 10 which by now there was a huge line of people wanting to get in. What got me a little mad was rangers kept going through the gate which after a hour or so they would know for sure that the road was opened just fine, but I suppose it's regulations that keep it closed to so late.
The Hike UpIn Paradise we then walk through some deep snow along the trail which as I sit down I realized that not putting on snow shoes right away was kinda a bad idea, made it so I sank in while putting them on getting my hands a little wet. Then we head on up to Panorama Point. It was a lovely winter afternoon looking around and seeing it all in the grand of winter. If there's a best time for Rainier, I believe it's winter.
As we travel along we hit a icy patch which we decide to take off our snow shoes, we could see ahead areas where it seemed as though the wind was blowing. Sure enough a few minutes later we are hit with a heavy drift of wind which blows the snow all around us and it seemed almost as if it were snowing and visibility was low even though it was clear outside! (This was a combination of snow and stinging ice that would hit your eyes) As we get near Anvil Rock clouds were rolling in and we were running out of time, so we had to take a few photos and start the decent.
Going Back HomeWhen going back down one of my snowshoes fell off, which I tried to get back on but the straps were just so frozen and the winds made my hands too numb to be able to deal with the snowshoes. After trying, I eventually was forced to give up and walk with one on and one off which felt strange. Eventually I took the other one off and as a result I was sinking a lot. I manged to keep up with Ian.
The Sun set on the way down was quite nice as well as the evening. On the way home I remember looking over at Mount Rainier thinking how lovely it was and how it remains to be on my top 10 favorite mountains. After this I had more hours of taking the bus home, but it was a great time as always.