Saturday, December 24, 2016

Self Care Snow Loveliness

After a lot of drama around snow in Portland on Wed December 14th involving people taking 5 hours to get home across town and abandoning cars, I was a bit worried the morning of December 15th about just getting out of town, but was able to pick up my new friend and hit the freeway pretty early. We had no problems getting to Ashford WA, obtaining snowshoes, and making it to the South Sno Park for Mount Tahoma Trails Association.
The snow was PERFECT! Powdery, and lovely. There was no sun, but that likely made the four mile climb much easier.
I pulled a sled with my backpack on it containing food, clothes, and water. The grooming made this distance much more doable.
We met some other snowshoers heading to High Hut, which is shorter but STEEPER. We did not envy them!
My new friend Corrine and I connected right away and were able to share many stories, hopes, and dreams, which made the climbing much more bearable!
We took lots of breaks to enjoy the lovely snow.
I left the kids at home for this adventure, and used the time to breathe deeply the cold mountain air and let go of work stress while recentering.
We were amazed at how much snow was on the trees.
When we got to the top of the hill at 4 miles, there were prayer flags. I believe these are in memory of a volunteer, Judy, who passed away last year. Judy was very kind and deeply devoted to MTTA and maintaining the trails and huts.
I had hiked to one of the huts on Easter Eve in 2007 alone and had it to myself to make space to grieve my sister who had died that February. I wrote in the log and Judy reached out to acknowledge my grief. I also met her on the trail a few times.
We enjoyed the flags which are such a stark contrast to the white snow and to know that Judy's memory lives on in this place.
We headed downhill for the final 2.5 mile stretch.
I thought about taking a break on this log but the massive pile of snow was SOLID.
Here is the viewpoint just before the yurt.
We arrived at the luxurious yurt just before 4pm in daylight. We were glad to kick off our snowshoes and enjoy this resting place.
Even the bathroom was lovely with pictures of Mt. Rainier, hand sanitizer, and a mirror.
Inside the yurt are lovely wood floors, everything you could think of for cooking, lap blankets, games, a gas stove, solar lights, a water filter, and even recently purchased Christmas chocolates. It was amazing!
It felt magical to wake up here on my 39th birthday after a challenging snowshoe and a very restful night.
We took time to make breakfast, clean up the yurt, shovel and melt snow, and then hit the trail again back toward our car.
I enjoyed seeing the icicles on the yurt.
Here is the foggy viewpoint again.
We made better time heading back and again enjoyed the perfect powdery snow.
We enjoyed more good conversation and some silence at times. I continue to breathe the mantra I use "Connected-Open-Grateful-Enough".
I felt connected to this place by my past history with MTTA, grateful for my body and the ability to showshoe, and that though it was short this time was enough to recharge and great to connect with a new friend.
The little bent over tree snow made me smile.
We continued back to the snow park, passing a man on skis using two sled dogs for pulling. We tried to encourage the snowshoers heading up toward the huts and yurt.
I am so grateful for this time and for MTTA for continuing to maintain the hut system. It was a magical two days of self care and left me ready to connect with family through the weekend.

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