For the last 3 days, any chance I have gotten, I have talked about our trip up to Mt. Rainier on Independence day. As I said, we walked all over the Paradise visitor area. And just as we were about to leave Michelle noticed this.
Buried in the pavement were these markers listing the names and elevations of some of my most memorable places. Some good, and some not so good. I thought I’d share a few and the memories they reminded me of
Obviously, if you have even sampled this blog, you know that Rainier has played a major role in the development of Moutainstroh. After my post on the 4th, I found out that my earliest visit to the Mountain was Independence Day 1971!! 43 years ago! I had no idea about this until Mom filled me in.
Well I don’t have any photos of that trip, but here are two from damn near 20 years ago!
This first one was my first climb to Camp Muir 10,000 feet up, over 5 miles of serious up hill snow field. I’m the short guy. I had to borrow a pack, my shoes were not water proof (I found out soon that was bad) and the bowling ball (yep really a 14 pounder) in my pack (we wanted to make it a real work out and carry 40 lbs) had to be shared by others. NOT the best introduction to mountain climbing.
I chose not to try to climb that year (good idea I was NO where near ready.) A year later I did try though, and even though I didn’t make it, I really love this picture at Camp Muir! At least the gear improved!
Love the cocky look! Later, NOT so cocky! The turn around point….
But enough of that, lets look at positives!
Mt Baker at 10, 778 remains my highest summit. Long ago I posted the whole story (Baker 1, Baker 2 and Baker 3), so I won’t bore you again, but when I saw this I couldn’t help but remember the ugly summit photo
And being above the smaller mountains all around me .
I love seeing this mountain as I driver down the road, and knowing I was on top!
I have to admit this was simply a walk up! 10000 feet in Washington requires crampons and an Ice axe, in Northern California, it looks like this!
The trail only took a couple of hours, but it allowed me to it atop yet another volcano, this one having been the most recent to erupt, aside from St Helens.
That haze in the background is smoke from some serious wildfires at the time. Not my prettiest or most strenuous route, but that is a happy guy sitting there! Shoot I even had company at the top! This glider buzzed me a couple of times!
Old reliable was next!
I have submitted this mountain more than any other “major” peak. OK, it’s only 8300 feet, but it’s continuously erupting right now, building the lava dome. It is the home of the newest glacier in America, and was never the same from climb to climb. I am never disappointed when I reach the top.
Of all of these, this is probably the only one I will climb again someday. Maybe I will take Manchild and/or Mathmajor. I’d like to share a summit with the next generation. We will see….
Finally, there was this
I honestly had no idea that Crater Lake was almost as high at St Helens. But as me know, I didn’t climb this one, the hardest and best ride I ever took happened here last year!
The views and the downhills were the only thing that kept me going that day! The full story and how I almost ended the ride 2 miles before the finish is here.
I know these markers were not put there for me personally. They were done to help people understand the geology and topography of the Cascades, my home stomping ground. But when I put it this way, it sounds incredibly boring.
What it ended up being was a treasure trove of memories for our bike riding hero. I went from one to another, snapping the picture and just thinking a bit what each one meant to me. How it shaped who I am now. The mountains don’t care whether I am here or not, but my life would be much emptier and my memories more bland without them.
I owe the man or woman who thought to put them there a beer and big thank you!! Thanks for coming along with me!