The day started out well with about 4 solid hours of very broken sleep. I slept in a house that was full of noises- a clock rang at every half hour which was handy as I wanted to be sure that I was still alive throughout the night and two kitties were ferociously growling at each other. Kitties can be so cute sometimes.
5 o’clock came too quickly and we were out the door at 5:23. Onward we chanted as we frolicked to the nearest 24 hour Starbucks which became the ritual throughout the day. After about 2hr and 30min, we arrived at the gate about an hour early. This was an important step for us because the gates only remain open for 8 hours and we were guaranteed a good scolding at the minimum, and at worst… we would probably be imprisoned. The 9:00 opening time came and went, they were sanding the road still. 10:00 approached and fled the scene as well. This was not good as it takes 30 minutes to get to the parking each way. Time was counting down and it became apparent that it would be impossible to make it to Muir Camp.
10:30: They finally opened the gate and a large row of cars began chugging up the hill. We eventually made it to the parking lot and set forth with millions of other people around us, all starting their trips at the same time. The brave adventurers continued up the mountain with the knowledge that it would eventually end in defeat. We made it to the trailhead, the steps behind the trailhead, and then started walking on the snow after further struggles.
We made it to Panorama Point and decided that the time was dwindling so we had our lunch there. We only eat healthy things, so the peach gummy candy was handed around (don’t let the word “candy” fool you… I am pretty sure they are real peaches.)
Heading down posed some new problems as the wind swept away the snow, leaving a nice sheet of ice. It gave us some good ice axe practice and I informed one intrepid explorer from another group that if I fell to my death, I would at least yell “as you wish” as I was being ripped apart by my various ice gear.
Finally back to the car… The route down was quite icy and my driving resembled that of a blindfolded drifting champion. It was a great challenge trying to stay on the road when going the speed limit, passing other cars proved exciting as well. There were a lot of steep cliffs, and I only had two snow tires on my car.
But after some stressful driving, and some silent prayers (and gasps from the other occupants in the car) We made it. I put the other people in timeout for all the foul mouthed language that they used in the turns, they should have really put more faith in me (or their chosen deity).
Personally… I blame MTV.
ALSO! I tried a new method of uploading my panoramas… I took a 254MP (yes… MEGA) image of Rainier and uploaded it here: http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/166513 Now you can count how many people were up on the mountain that day :). Let me know what you think- I have never used this hosting service before but it seems to work!