We made it to basecamp after a 2.5 hour hike where we had to traverse through large rocks and debris, which were the ruins of a massive and destructive flood. Making it across creeks by way of stumbling or hopping from rock to rock with a 60-80lb pack was only part of the difficulty. The weight of the pack grudging down on my hips only made for an intense burn and stiffness that made me wish I could inject my hips with lube and get them moving like a well oiled piece of machinery. Instead, our legs were moving slow. At 5000 feet we were out of the rocks and into continuous snow and uphill narrow and winding trails. When we got to basecamp at 6000 feet we were dumped into what the rangers call a meadow. It is really an open expansive field of snow. It is breathtaking. As you look up from the meadow you are overwhelmed by the beauty and grandiose of mt rainier. It started to drizzle when we arrived. We quickly took out shovels to clear a flat patch for our tents and dig a 3 foot by 2 foot wide by 2 foot deep hole that our vestibule would be stretched over. This would provide a place to put our feet when we climb into the tent thus preventing any snow from getting in our actual tent. We could also put our packs in the hole as well as cook.
After the tent was set up we were lucky enough to have a glacial river nearby. Instead of melting snow for water we were able to climb down a snow bank and pump water directly to our bottles. At this point, we were starving and hadn't eaten anything since the a.m. Once we were done with pumping water (took about 20min), we climbed back up the snow bank to start the stove and eat freeze dried food. The menu tonight: veggie medely pasta with packaged chicken and mole rice. The pasta and rice turned out aldente and a little powdery. To drink; we made some apple cider. Our stomachs were now full and we are ready to climb into our sleeping bags to warm up our icecicle toes. As I finish up this letter, it is probably around 30 degrees here. I shall leave now to play cards with Tonya who would rather play frisbee if we had one.. Haha. We must get up at 7am to pack up camp and start a 6 hour climb to camp schurman, a much more intense and difficult climb, specifically due to the altitude. Tonight we are hoping to acclimate a bit.
Getting ready to head up the trail to basecamp>
Trail to basecamp >
Our tents at basecamp >
Cooking under vestibule >