Location: Mt. Rainier
Miles: 9/ 2600 elevation gain
7 of us left Seattle at midnight to make it to the trailhead at 2 AM. As we arrived at the trailhead, the stars were nothing like I’d ever seen. They were so bright and numerous. I could stare at them all night. We had a destination to make though. It was in the 30’s when we started the hike, so we all bundled up, but were not prepared for it to be this cold. I had a down puffer and hat and gloves on and was still miserably cold the entire time (until the sun came out). We took our time hiking up as we all thought we’d be waiting at the top in darkness for the sun to come up. This was not the case though as it slowly crept up even before 5 AM. As the light began to trickle over the mountains, it was like unwrapping a present as we had no idea what was around us during this hike. We saw our first group of mountain goats on the way up, the first I have seen in Washington! We donned our spikes and made it through a few snow fields, but they weren’t bad at all. Caitlin and I pushed to the very top quickly, while the rest were just below the summit. At the top we saw more mountain goats on the trail and not very far away this time. Such a crazy thing to see. We joined with the rest of the group and rejoiced over prosecco. We were kind of deliriously tired at this point as most of us were working on relatively no sleep. We sat at the top a long time taking in the views and also procrastinating the journey back. The way back though was great because again we didn’t see any of it on the way in really. We made it back to the trail head at 10:30 and then made our way to brunch. Another day of new friends, epic adventures, and memories with my favorite mountain.