JK had promised our Norwegian guest a ski tour, so when the summer solstice forecast read sunny all the way, he took the day off work and drove us to Paradise. He brought his randonnée skis and Jolli rented telemark gear – a true Norwegian!
I, the bad Norwegian, was on foot. Honestly I wasn’t planning on going very far, so I brought my Kindle and my Zune, prepared to hang out at Panorama Point while the guys skinned up to Camp Muir. I haven’t done any really challenging hikes in a long time, elevation gain-wise, so I had sort of lost the confidence I used to have about being able to keep up with other people and join them on longer dayhikes.
Not that I haven’t been enjoying our lazy hikes this year, au contraire – I love late starts, hanging out at lakes and taking summit naps…but it would be nice to not have to turn down hiking invitations because I’m worried that I won’t be able to push myself.
Anyhoo, back to Rainier. The weather was amazing – strong wind to begin with, but it died down once we hit the Muir Snowfield, leaving us stripped down to base layers and roasting in the glorious sun. Somehow I was consistently ahead of the boys the whole way, so I decided to just turn on my Zune and keep going.
Between the gorgeous views and the perfect playlist – mostly Hot Chip and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – I felt amazingly energized. Even as we got close to 10,000 feet, I kept stopping to throw down dance moves. Hmm, maybe the altitude affected me more than I thought.
I reached Camp Muir, 10,080 feet, infinitely proud of myself, confidence restored. I ate my disgustingly soggy Subway sandwich (note to self – Subway works better as a winter hiking food) and chatted with some climbers while waiting for JK and Jolli to arrive.
After taking group photos, I left the boys to their own soggy sandwiches in order to get a head start – skis beat feet on the downhill. I got some good glissades in where it was steep enough, but the snow was so soft from the heat that I spent most of the 4,700 feet of elevation loss posthole-running.
As for JK and Jolli, all that uphill paid off in surprisingly good skiing. They were all smiles as they caught up with me, just above Pebble Creek.
I hiked down to Glacier Vista with some very nice climbers celebrating their successful summit bid, then posthole-jogged the rest of the way to the car, still high on endorphins and thickening air.
Just as I was telling Jolli that the only thing missing from our day on the mountain was a fox sighting, this little guy came into view. With that, it was official – we’d had a perfect day.