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Backcountry for a Day

Now that this weekend is not so fresh in my mind I can write about it…jk.  We really had a great eventful weekend.  Eventful with exercise, eating, and extreme sports.  I’m glad to be not on top of a mountain right now, even if that means back to warm and wet rain in Seattle.

Friday night we were both pretty exhausted so instead of going out we made a huge batch of potstickers at home and watched The Magnificent Seven in our pjs.  Saturday morning we went on a midmorning run around Seward Park before cleaning up and heading over to the Dodds to watch the Seahawks lose.  Bummer!  We enjoyed being back at our friends place and with good Mediterranean food and Founders beer (finally made it to Seattle so I picked up three growlers of it from Chuck’s).  After the disappointing lose we headed home to pack for our big plans for Sunday.  Bryan did the majority of the packing for us and I prepped a few PB&Js for the hike.  We got to bed pretty early in anticipation for Sunday’s events.

Sunday morning we woke up around 6 am and after bottling up some waters and coffees we packed into the Jeep to head south to Rainier.  We made it to the Paradise gate just after it opened to the public at 9 am and were at Paradise around 9:30 am.  Shortly after I was strapped into snowshoes for the first time ever in my life with ski boots in my backpack and Bryan was wearing his ski boots and skis with skins while carrying my skis for me.  It was warm and sunny!  So sunny that I think I applied sunscreen to my face four times during the day.  We set out with a decent amount of people that gradually thinned throughout the day.  The hike up to Paradise is a different type of hike.  You are so exposed with so little trees that it feels very weird to me.  After about 1.5 hours and 1800 feet we made it to Panorama Point.  There Bryan and I sat on a rock to eat some of our PB&Js and enjoy the scenery.  My mind was on the long hike still ahead of us.  15965236_10108906806719810_7966333115324172608_n1

We resumed the hiking and slowly kept going for another 3 hours or so and another gradual but tiring 2000 feet up.  At this point you are literally walking in a vast field of snow on top of a mountain.  No trees in sight.  No cover to be had.  Less people here too.  Bryan and I were really starting to regret running the day before and were struggling getting up.  I was also feeling demoralized by still not being able to see Camp Muir, where we had our hearts set on making it to before turning around.  However, neither of us felt like continuing on for another 1000 feet, even if that was less than a mile.  We turned around at 3500 feet up, breaked for a little while to catch our breath and then I booted up.  Now we had to ski down!

If you look really close you might see a smile...or not. It's more like a look of get me off of this mountain.
If you look really close you might see a smile…or not. It’s more like a look of get me off of this mountain.

So we started skiing and let me tell you it was not all that much easier on my legs.  The snow was thick and heavy so I was really leaning into my turns and my legs were burning.  I really did feel like Bambi on skis.  I was all over the place.  The first half of the skiing was fine though, even close to fun.  There was so much wide open space to ski it was freeing.  Then we got to the steep portion and I had to take my skis off.  The snow wasn’t soft enough for me to feel comfortable in my turns and I ended up sadly walking my skis down this portion.  At this point I was ready to be back at the car.  I got my skis back on and we made it the last mile down through sun-crusted hard snow and I was still not at all close to graceful.  But we made it back!  We loaded up pretty quickly and set back on the road back to Seattle.

We headed straight to Eastlake Bar and Grill for burgers then headed home where I treated myself to a bubble bath before immediately passing out on the couch.  As much of a workout it was for us I’m amazed neither of us were very sore.  My back has been sore, maybe from the pack, and I can tell that my legs are recovering from fatigue but either my Fitnessblender videos or running is keeping my legs conditioned.

Backcountry skiing…can check that one off of the list.

Chelsea

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