Mar 01

Did this with Jonny, starting at 0900 and getting out at 1300, about 10-12 miles each way for a total of 20-24 miles. The road to the trailhead was closed, so we had to have an additional 2 miles additional skiing on snowed over road in order to reach the normal starting point. The weather was cool and snowing most the time, leaving us wet powder, which made it remarkably easy to negotiate on skis. We had to break trail the entire distance, and never saw another single person, until we met somebody at the trailhead on our return, going up alone with her two dogs. I tried to use the Magellan GPS to figure out our ending location and distance, but the unit was inoperable, only to learn after skiing out, that I put in one of the batteries wrong. Also, I forgot my camera, thus no photographs. Though we were in view of Mt. Rainier, and probably just inside the park, weather conditions did not allow for distant viewing. At the trailhead, we were even barraged by a rather fierce hailstorm.

I had done this trail partially last year with Dr. Cull, but only making about a third the distance. I would like to return to the trail in order to attempt a complete ascent to Grand Park, hopefully on a clear day to see Mt. Rainier,  or possibly to even camp out in Grand Park. Interestingly, this trail took us quite close to Lake Eleanor, located within the Park. Jonny and I hiked into Lake Eleanor from Sunrise many years ago when Jonny was quite young, and in minimalist style, i.e., without a tent. All that we could remember from the trip is how we were eaten up by mosquitos, and achieving almost no sleep that night. On the way out today, in the snow, Jonny and I encountered several mosquitos! What a wonderful memory.

I defied all sensibility on this trip. I had no snow shovel or rescue equipment. I forgot a map and compass. I depended on a non-functional gps unit. In fact, I carried absolutely no safety equipment. We forgot the cell phone, and had no signaling devices. This was part of the reason I decided to call it quits a touch early. Stupidity needs not be multiplied. Firsts on this trip included a backpack thermos filled with hot chocolate. Great idea!  Second, I actually sustained blisters on both metatarsal heads, which is unusual for me when skiing.  At home, I applied Blisto-Ban, which works awesomely. Immediately after application, I had virtually no blister discomfort even while walking around. They are worth their expense. Unfortunately, REI does not carry Blisto-Ban.

 

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