Hadn’t spent a weekend night in my bedroom in about two months, when last weekend was approaching I figured why break the streak? Did some quick interwebs research on an area I wanted to check out for winter purposes, found a willing co-pilot in Adam, and hit 5 North. Funny how fast a three hour drive goes by when you’ve just driven to Santa Fe and back a week prior.
After a false start/”WTF we need permits?” moment and temporary redirect into MRNP we hit the trail. Dunno if it was the lack of hiking and general lack of fitness this year or if the trail really was a bitch, but the trail felt like a bitch, with enough sweating and heavy breathing you’d think I was overdubbing a porno while Adam was lost in thought reconsidering his decision to not stop smoking.
First mile or two of trail was your typical PNW thick forest/small talk on the way up cuz all this shit looks the same/hey maybe we’ll see a ‘squatch dealio, but the first peek of Rainier providing the stoke to get us to the top.
Fired up by the views and the thought of cooling off with one of that mountains namesake beers the next X miles went fast, and we finally cleared Endor and the views shifted to what we came for – hillsides in full frontal floral and enough snow to help you picture the area’s winter potential.
We entered the basin, a few water crossings and a circumnavigation of a lake later camp was setup. Found a hole in the floor of my Seedhouse, sad 🙁
Ronyays and Mark made intros to our livers, bullshit was shot, Northern Lights were unseen. There was a cool lightning storm going on, no bolts or thunder, just an occasional strobelight effect echoing off the clouds and walls surrounding us. So rad.
Up early the next AM to seek out some elusive crystals we heard were in the area and take an up close peek at some of the peaks around us. Also were hoping to make it to the hole in the rock we could barely make out from camp but sadly got cliffed out on the way up.
We only found a single crystal before the thunder moved through in a big way. As we didn’t feel like camping in a valley near a lake through a thunder and lightning storm decided to pack it up and hoof it down. Washed the weekend down with some fresh from Alaska halibut tacos and beers while watching the sun set over Mason Lake. It never ceases to amaze me that spots like this, only a few miles from a trailhead and right off of a highway, can be as empty as they are. The PNW rocks.