I’ve been looking forward to hooking up with Janelle again after our excellent winter trip to Mazama Ridge, and the opening day of the Sunrise Road was the perfect opportunity to hike with a Mount Rainier expert.
There was a little more snow than we were expecting, but the general consensus is that we’re 3-4 weeks ahead of last year when it comes to snow melt. It’s certainly better than in 2011 when JK skied to Burroughs Mountain on Fourth of July weekend!
We started our day with a snowy traverse to Frozen Lake, followed by a dry trail the rest of the way to Fremont Lookout.
Unfortunately we didn’t see any marmots by the lookout, but we did smell one. Well, we decided it was either weed or a wet marmot. Or a wet marmot smoking weed.
Anyway, our rodent search paid off on the way back when the boulders by near Frozen Lake were suddenly lousy with marmots. Marmots! I love them.
It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!
We couldn’t hang out with them for too long though; we still had another trail to hike – my first overnight of the year!
Janelle drove us back down Sunrise Road to the Crystal Lakes trailhead where we saddled up and started hiking.
Unfortunately, we had forgotten that we were in the midst of an unseasonable early heatwave and that hiking uphill with overnight packs in the middle of the day might not be the best idea. It was incredibly muggy as well, much too muggy for the west coast. It was really getting to Janelle, and I felt so bad for her. I’ve had heat exhaustion before, and it just sucks the life out of you.
I did my best to cool her off by pouring cold water on and in her wherever we could find a stream. I think the thought of jumping in the lake at the end of the trail was what really kept her going, though.
She powered through it like a champ and luckily felt better as the evening progressed. It helped that the lake and our campsite were gorgeous.
In the morning it was my turn to feel crappy. I barely got any sleep and had a pounding headache – I guess I was dehydrated too. Janelle brought water and a Kind bar to my tent, and after I had that and a strong cup of coffee, I felt almost back to normal.
Still, we decided to skip our planned hike to Glacier Basin and just lounge by the lake for a while before heading back to civilization. It wasn’t such a bad place to spend a lazy Saturday morning.