When asked if I wanted to climb Mount Saint Helens, I answered an immediate yes. This mountain has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and I looked forward to peering into the crater from the rim.
Driving down to Cougar for a 4 hour nap at a hotel sounded like a good idea- unfortunately… the hotel did not have AC and the rooms were in their high 90s. I still tried to nap as I normally don’t like hiking into the night.
Upon crawling into bed, I was surprised to discover that a joint was already in the bed along with someone else’s hair! Must have been the super special treatment… The heat was brutal and I just kept on sweating as I tried to take a nap. Then the flies started showing up and kept on biting me right as I started to dose off. This wasn’t working according to plan.
After getting about 8 minutes of sleep, the call to leave was heard at 10pm… we formed a car train that moved out towards the trailhead.
Walking up the mountain involves quite a bit of rock hopping and volcanic ash, it is tiring but is a unique hike because of it.
We arrived at the summit around 2:30am- just 4 hours until sunrise… 4 long, cold, windy hours. I used my patented technique of burrowing deep into the sand and staying in a fetal position so that I could remain fairly warm and also block the blowing sands at the same time. I slept well.
Then the sunrise happened…
Besides the exercise- the sunrise was the real goal of the trip and it was well worth it. The winds picked up quickly and also had some rain start coming down- so we didn’t spend very much time up there unfortunately.