Mt. St. Helens in the snow

December 2, 2006.

After much ado about buying a Sno-Park pass, we finally got to start hiking around 11am on this glorious Saturday morning. From the Marble Mountain parking lot, the air crisp with the smell of diesel fuel and roar of snowmobile engines, we took trail 244 up to the treeline. Bob took off like a rocket, leaving me gasping for air right from the start. It couldn’t have been too far to break treeline, since we were afforded views of the summit after an hour and a half of walking. The snow was deep but the trail was broken out so it wasn’t much of a slog. Guess I’ve got to get in better shape…

Once above the trees, the landscape opened up and the views couldn’t have been better. We could see the top of St. Helens, smoke wisps drifting up from the summit, as well as the gigantic Mt. Adams and the less impressive Mt. Hood off in the distance. Everything was covered with snow, and the glaring sun made everything shine brightly.

After another hour or so we had lunch and soaked in the sun. There wasn’t a person for miles, with the exception of a couple of skiiers making their way up the mountain. Bob decided we should veer off to the right, over a ridge, to catch more views of Mt. Adams. So we plowed through unbroken snow, through a small patch of trees, across some rocks, and over another ridge to take a look at Adams. It looked so close from where we were 🙂 So did the top of St. Helens, but looks can be deceiving…

We traipsed through the snow for another hour, just exploring the terrain and making the most out of the waning hours of daylight. On another day, with an earlier start, I’d like to get to the top but there would be no summit today. It was so exciting to get to play in the snow, check out a new place, and avoid people for a few hours, so I was perfectly content with the experience. Hiking with another human being for once was nice, allowing for good conversation and the opportunity to get off trail and go places I wouldn’t bother going if I’d have been alone.

By 4pm we were back in the parking lot. A tremendous day!

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