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What a weekend this was! Our mountain family finally got a chance to get back together after the holidays. All day long we dream about places to go and group text each other suggestions for our next adventure.
After seeing Mitch Pittman’s adventure up to Artist point in the snow, we were sold. We saw him at an outdoor event and he confirmed, we had to go. We had just been up to Artist point back in October but this trip would be different and an excuse to use some new gear.
I was up at 4am to make sure (one last time) I had everything I needed. Echo is such a smart boy... he can always tell when an adventure is before us, and he was equally as excited! Echo and I were on the road by 5am, picked up Erin at 6am, and then off to race Kim and Joe to the magical winter wonderland that awaited us.
As soon as we got to the parking lot and brought our bags out we just started laughing because they were about as big and full for an overnight trip as they were for our 4 day backpacking trip this past summer. That’s the point though .. winter camping is completely different. You need the right gear and it’s just flat out bulky.
We made it up the mountain in good time despite Kim and Joe deciding against snowshoes... 😉 Still too soon?
We were almost at the ridge and noticed a few people turning around due to avalanches … they were minor but still necessary to take precaution. Erin and I hurried to higher ground and out of the avalanche zone. Kim and Joe met up with us and we started to think we might be camping in a dull, moody whiteout.
We set up camp, added a few layers and started to enjoy the views. Erin decided to test out her new InReach that her parents got her for Christmas, and (unsponsored) claims the device is incredible. Not only can she send a text and coordinates from anywhere in the world, she can also receive communication back. Her parents said the text comes in like normal, along with a link that shows a satellite map exactly where we were. What a peace of mind and neat device!!
If you know Joe & Kim, you know they have two rambunctious huskies named Jovie and Jester! Jester played around with Echo for a bit, but once the tent was up, both Jovie and Jester weren't about that #snowlife anymore, and passed out in the tent lol. NOT KIDDING.
I have to brag a little bit about our mountain fam.... I love this crew. They motivate me, push me, and encourage me. When you can truly be yourself in your happy place over and over again and still want to spend days at a time with the same people, you know you’ve found your crew.
Since I made a promise to myself (and YOU) that I would document our training/conditioning journey to climb Mount Rainier, I of course brought my camera, and we took some time to play in the snow and take all sorts pictures... Prepare yourselves.
After being on the ridge for less than 20 minutes the skies parted and blue skies greeted us. This was just the beginning!
Erin, in TRUE Erin fashion <3
Oh, Kim... Quite possibly the biggest ham I know. Can't help but love this girl!
We noticed a few different pink shades of light hitting Mt. Shuksan and everyone on the ridge started to slow down and gather. An amazing display of colors had begun.
Pinks to orange to yellow and then back to pinks and purples and red … It didn’t matter what angle you we were looking at, our breath was being taken away one mountain range at a time.
Of course we started trying to snap as many photos as possible and frustrated that none of them can truly capture the moment. We were all getting excited and yelling out loud .. “how did we get so lucky?" "How did we get so blessed?" "I can’t believe we live here.” … the mountains just kept screaming for attention and we all stopped to enjoy it.
After the sunset show we all settled in our tents to warm up and make dinner. I put my down booties on, hopped in my REI bag and lit my jetboil to prepare some hot tea and dinner. Afterwards, we all started to gather again and I wanted to "try" some astrophotography. I'm still a newbie with it, but pretty happy with the result!
After a few shots, I thought I saw the northern lights and yelled at Erin to come over! The more we looked at the sky with our naked eye and the more I took some shots, the more we realized we had hit the jackpot. We attempted some portraits (still a huge work in progress), but had a lot of fun in the process!
We woke up the next morning feeling refreshed, still excited and blessed. We were surprised with an incredibly colorful sunrise! The timing of this overnight adventure was pure luck, and I am so thankful for it!
We traveled down the mountain just in enough time to beat the MASSIVE crowds. We’re still talking about this adventure and my guess is we’ll be talking about it for a long time ❤️