Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mount St. Helens - 9/6/08

Friends keep asking to go, so we keep organizing trips up Mount St. Helens. Our latest attempt was this weekend - Brad's fifth and my fourth trek up the decapitated volcano. Permits are required and limited to 100 per day on the world-famous peak (can you still call it a peak when there's no top??). So we sent out the all-call in February and ordered 11 permits as soon as they were available. Our roster changed as the months passed - even on the morning we left! We ended up with a wonderful mix of family, co-workers, new friends and old friends -- ages ranging from 26 to 70!!!!
Elaine, Elizabeth, Scott, David, Christine, Jakob, Lindsey, Steve, Phil, Brad & Liz ready to hit the trail bright and early Saturday morning.

We slept Friday night at Climbers' Bivouac, a "campground" at the trail head. Our slumber was interrupted by what we think were two owls mating (very loudly!) in the trees right outside our tents. A few hours later, we were up, dressed, fed and ready to climb. It appeared that all 100 climbers left about the same time, and we leap-frogged through the woods, over the boulders and up the scree slope to the crater rim.
Brad taking a break in the boulder field

Wind on the rim was surprisingly warm and calm, so Brad and I didn't mind taking in the view and spending a couple hours waiting to make sure everyone made it to the top and got all the appropriate summit photos. We also got to see some crazy half-naked guy pee into the crater.
David, Liz, Brad, Steve, Jakob, Lindsey, Christine, Phil on the summit

When I hike or climb, I always covet everyone's food. When I reached the summit, two women were eating burritos. My PBJ just couldn't compare. (Though I did have awesome sour cream and onion Pringles ... Pringles never taste better than on a summit!) When we reached the parking lot, a father and son were cooking their dinner right next to us - and it smelled heavenly. Having gone the last 12+ hours on oatmeal, gorp, chips and PBJ, it took all my remaining strength to keep from stealing their food and running into the woods with it. Thankfully, we used Christine and Jakob's GPS to find the nearest pizzeria. Soon we were chowing down on some great pies in La Center, Wash.
What a wonderful day!

-Liz :)

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