Week Four – West Tiger Mountain

Elevation gain: 2100ft
Elevation: 2525ft
Miles: 5 miles RT

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Today was a bit of a physical challenge but so good. I missed our hike last week due to a bunch of prep for work and other responsibilities but I’m determined to stay on track. This past week I had a lot going on at work and home and before I realized it I was a little ball or stress!

Needless to say I needed the push today. Jessi not only climbed west tiger mountain last weekend but also did a sunrise hike to Rattlesnake with two of her friends AND still met me at West Tiger mountain afterwards to hike up with me. Jessi is the real deal and one of her word no doubt. Even though Jessi had just hiked 4 miles before our adventure I felt like I was keeping a pretty slow pace compared to our normal pace. She kept pushing me and reassuring me we need to keep going. The more I kept trying to control my breathing the more my feet kept moving as I thought about those would love to make this hike but their lungs won’t allow them. I then had no excuses in front of me.

On our cold and wet hike we started talking about the true effects of stress and what it can do to our bodies. We both know I’ve done way harder hikes with way more weight in my pack and struggled less ha! It was a great conversation of awareness and understanding our bodies. By the end of our hike I had sweat out so many toxins of stress and released so many endorphins I was practically skipping. Thank you Jessi for being YOU.

At the summit I noticed a guy with a large backpack and knew he had to be training so I asked. Sure enough he is also climbing Mt. Rainier this summer with a non profit group. We exchanged tips and tricks and a few stories but it was just awesome to know and feel like we’re on track. Sunny, snowing or slightly rainy … we are staying on track and pushing on.

We had a really awesome week this week in donations and we are starting to ramp up some events and fundraising campaigns. We can’t wait to share the details with you, stay tuned.

 

Week Three – Mt. Si

Elevation gain: 3150ft
Elevation: 3900ft
Mileage: 8 miles

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Two days in the Cascades was not enough. We are serious about these mountains and our goal to raise $16k for Climb for Clean air.

We all got home mid day on Sunday, cleaned our gear, repacked and met at the trailhead at 7am on Monday. Pause … we had to get a new park pass because ours was expired but we started on the trail right around 7:30.

It was a great morning full of surprising pink skies in the distance, low number of people and we were making good time despite sore legs and little sleep. When we finally made it to the top it was incredibly windy and we found the perfect boulder to hide behind and enjoy our coffee and snacks. As we sat down we noticed the beautiful view of Rainier. HOW special to see the beautiful mountain you’re training for while you’re training?? It was awesome.

Rainier shining in the background while these little guys had a yummy breakfast. Until next time, Si 🌄

 

Week Two – North Cascades Snow Camping Weekend

January 13-14th, 2018

What a weekend! The 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 all of our new gear.

We start our trips with a 5 am wake up call and a 6 am meet time. Jessi picked me up and my house and we were on the road 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? Almost at the ridge we noticed a few people turning around due to avalanches … they were minor but still necessary to take precaution. Jessi 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 in a dull, moody whiteout. After being on the ridge for less than 20 minutes the skies parted and blue skies greeted us. This was just the beginning.

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We set up camp, added a few layers and started to enjoy the views. I decided to test out my new InReach that my parents gave me for Christmas and unsponsored I am saying this device is incredible. Not only can I send a text and coordinates from anywhere in the world I can also receive communication back. My parents said the text comes in like normal from me along with a link that shows them on a satellite map exactly where I’m at. What a peace of mind and neat device!!

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Let’s be honest .. how can we not have a photo shoot with that backdrop and our bestie being a photographer? Not going to lie .. this was a hilarious part of the trip.

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I love these girls. 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.

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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 started.

Pinks to orange to yellow and then back to pinks and purples … 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.

Table Mountain.

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Mt. Baker in all of her glory. 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 0 degree bag and lit my jet boil to prepare my food. I was just beside myself with the feeling of accomplishment, emotion of joy and reward of stillness. After dinner we all started to gather again and Jessi wanted to try some Astrophotography of the stars and Mt. Shuksan. I would say from the shot below with the Big Dipper waving hello, she nailed it.

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Jessi started to shoot and then she yelled out “Erin, come over here I think I caught the northern lights.” She sure did .. the more we looked at the sky with our naked eye and the more she took shots the more realized we had hit the jackpot. As Jessi was taking long exposures I was looking at Mt. Shuksan to try to be as still as possible. I saw 3 shooting stars just sitting there and it made me wonder .. how can one not believe in God? He’s everywhere .. his beauty, grace, strength and warmth shows up in big moments and small moments.

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We woke up the next morning feeling refreshed, still excited and blessed. We traveled down the mountain just in enough time to beat the crowds. We’re still talking about this adventure and my guess is we’ll be talking about it for a long time ❤️