Nick and I are almost at the end of our journey together. I could not think of a better way to wrap up his leg of the journey than to make the grueling ascent to Base Camp on Mount Rainier!!
After talking it over, we both agreed to the challenge. We packed up food and water for the trip the night before and went over our route up the mountain. I was so excited about the big climb I could hardly sleep. The following morning we drove into the Mount Rainier National Park and began driving up into the mountains to the Visitor Center/Paradise Lodge. After parking the Airstream we grabbed our gear to begin our ascent and started hiking to the trailhead. The weather could not have been better for our big climb. I was able to wear a T-shirt until we hit the higher elevations of the mountain.
Mount Rainier is currently considered one of the most Dangerous Volcanoes in the world. Mount Rainier is a very large stratovolcano about an hour south east of Seattle. It is on the “Decades Volcano List.” It is said that Mount Rainier poses a grave threat to the large city of Seattle if an eruption were to take place. Scientists believe that eruption is currently long overdue.
Nick and I soon left the hordes of people and the flat paved trails behind, as we continued our trek towards Base Camp. We had no idea what was in store for us.
After hiking the rocky path through the lower areas of the mountain we hit the first sign of the glacier fields. Snow pack was on the ground and the temperature changed. Nick and I stopped to down a Cliff Bar before continuing upward.
Once we hit the glacier fields, the path was gone. There were small markers every so often to help guide people away from hidden cracks and dangerous crevices in the ice field. As we continued our ascent, the air became thin and we found ourselves stopping to breathe more frequently. To continue climbing we had to kick the toes of our boots into the side of the mountain several times on each step forward just to gain a little traction. We would walk 5-10 steps and stop to breathe before continuing. Then we hit the last mile before Camp Muir.
We finally hit Base Camp. It was incredible. I cannot tell you how amazing it felt to finally make it to the dry ground of Camp.
We met a fellow climber, Jeffery Everson, who was at Base Camp getting ready to make a summit attempt in the early morning hours. We sat and talked for a good half hour with our new friend. He was the kind of guy I felt like I had been friends with for years by the way we were talking and sharing stories. He even gave Nick some instant mash potatoes in a bag. A treat Nick gratefully devoured in seconds. It was an honor to meet Jeffery and hear about some of his adventures. He later went on to summit Mt. Rainier, an amazing accomplishment!
After spending some time catching our breath we had to turn around and start our descent. It was after 6pm and we couldn’t risk loosing the sun behind the mountain and climbing down in the dark!
Hiking to Base Camp on Mount Rainier is by far the most amazing hike I have ever completed. It was also the hardest. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to accomplish that trek. It is so humbling to be up there, 4 thousand feet from the top. So stoked to have completed that adventure. I also could not have asked for a better hiking partner. Thank you Nick for making the trek with me!
Next Up… Downtown Seattle for Nick’s last day on the Expedition