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Posts Tagged ‘Camp Muir’

The calm before the storm

Posted by joeabbott on May 27, 2018

Yesterday was my last training hike and it’s a welcome end to a long spring of getting in shape. While I’ll still attend spinning on Tuesday, do my Tiger Mountain hike Wednesday, and yoga on Thursday, I won’t have any long hiking trips before my Mt. Rainier bid early that following week. I feel I could be in better shape but I’m starting to peak and my body desperately needs a break from the constant abuse. And, it’d be nice to see more of Suzy, too!

That said, I’d be lying if I didn’t share that I’ve seen Mt. Rainier in many phenomenal moods and yesterday was another chance to be awestruck by this beautiful mountain.

Tim joined me and proved reliable company. Conversation comes easily, as does the silence; he’s a good partner. But the mountain was on full display. We left the parking lot under a light mist but broke out of the clouds around Panorama Point. We had a long way to go but we weren’t rushed, so we enjoyed a short break here, taking in blue skies and the rapidly retreating snows.

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Over the next mile or two we saw the dark and white mountain in glorious contrast to the skies, with shrouding mists blowing about. I resolved to come back here with Suzy, who’d love to see this firsthand.

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Beyond this point I found a playful marmot, although my guess is that he was looking for handouts from passersby. He got nothing from us and quickly scooted to the next group of folks, in hopes for a meal or at least a snack. I wanted to get a photo of him, but he seemed camera wary and I never got off a good shot.

I’m always disappointed in my photography efforts but I keep trying … clearly trying the same thing time and again isn’t the solution. Not sure what I should try differently (given that I use a point-and-shoot camera) but I continued to be buoyed by the wonderful grandeur about me. You really should get out this way if you have a chance.

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I laughingly include this picture because I didn’t realize how silly I looked yesterday. My pants are a light tan and my shirt a grey, but in the strong sunlight, things get a bit bleached out and so, in addition to a white hat that Tim had given me, I look a bit foolish … but I was clearly having fun.

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On the way up, we stopped every 1000’ (of elevation) or so, resting our feet, grabbing a bite, and enjoying the outdoors. I got ahead toward the end but always made the best of having a few minutes to myself.

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The last thousand feet or so to Camp Muir are a grind: you’re tired, the Camp hides itself behind the rising slope of the ground, and when you finally do see it, you have another 20 minutes or so of trekking left. It’s a challenge when you mostly just want to be done and have a good rest. But, we train not just for the body but for the mental toughness you need to keep shouldering on. And so I did.

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I got in a bit earlier than Tim, enjoyed a sandwich and a bit of chit-chat with a few others who arrived at the Camp before me. When Tim got in I continued to loll in the sun and then scouted the route we’d be taking a 10 days from then. On the far side of Camp Muir, beyond where folks setup their tents, is a glacier upon which a trail rises to Cathedral Gap … below is the larger view with a close-up of the Gap following.

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I expect by the time we head up this route, the Gap will be far more melted out and we’ll have a lot more rock and pumice to negotiate. Still, the path should well avoid the forming crevasses and I’m thankful once more for an early season date for our climb.

After this we headed down, making good time but seeing a lot of contrasting weather: the sun of Camp Muir, the mists below 7300’, and then the low clouds at Paradise. It was a taxing and wonderful day.

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And that’s it for training. A little more work this coming week to stay tuned but enough rest that my feet recuperate and I have a chance to get my gear dried and prepped for the “big outing”. Thanks for dropping in and seeing what I’ve been up to!

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A day in pictures (and some words)

Posted by joeabbott on May 8, 2018

I was going to use this post to talk about getting stronger … how I feel broken down all the time but I’m more capable and faster … but, it got depressing. So I hit restart and will just be sharing my past weekend … I’ll let the pics do most of the talking.

imageI got out with Ron and Tim … the picture along the right side bar is our journey from the bottom (Paradise) to the top (Camp Muir) and back. It started in a solid rain, got gloriously clear, then a whiteout, and by the time we got back to the car, we’d just spent 45 minutes in driving rain. It was that sorta day … come along!

Ron’s face isn’t melting … that’s just the rain. We’re barely out of the lot and you can see his Gore-Tex jacket is already showing signs of waterlogging.

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Destination … that little spec waaay up there. You’ll likely need to look at the blow-up photo, figure out where that lines up in the first photo, and then try to spot the little square buildings marking Camp Muir. And, yes, they’re pretty hard to spot!

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Aside from that, the slog was the same as the slog usually is … sloggy. I was fairing poorly after a strenuous Saturday and struggled under the 50# pack. As you can see, this was my view most of the way: dead last in our pack of 3 hikers!

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But then things cleared and it’s GLORIOUS out there! I really love it. This is from somewhere just below Anvil Rock … you can find it on the map to the right.

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But, before long, the clouds settled in, I started lagging, and we were back to slogging. But, as you can see in the last picture, we spotted the rectangular buildings of Camp Muir … we were there!

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Evidence I made it … but, I felt a whole lot worse than I look!

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On the far side of Camp Muir, the trail goes something like this (the green line) … but that will be a trip for another day.

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But, the weather being what it was, it cleared a bit before going into total whiteout mode. Here we are saying farewell to Camp Muir and heading back to the cars … on the way down, I made a little better time than Tim and Ron as I was willing to glissade some of the steeper slopes.

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And then Paradise was in sight. I’d never seen the parking lot so empty but happy for the one car there that I was looking for … the one containing my dry clothing and that would take me home. As much as it’s nice to get out, when you’ve been walking 10 hours under a heavy pack through driving rain and whiteout conditions, getting somewhere you can relax in comfort is priceless.

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Thanks for tromping a long with me and I hope your days have less rain and now whiteouts!

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