for the last three years some great friends and us have trekked up to mt. tahoma for our annual hutting and snowshoe extravaganza. we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like, so we consider this our family reunion… in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

mt. rainier taken with motorola droid x w/ fx app

our first trip, three years ago, was quite a shocker and we definitely learned a thing or two for our  second year.  this year, we thought we had nailed it. we knew what to expect hiking up 4000 feet in 3 miles and our packs were about 15 pounds lighter compared to the first year. but we were in for a few noticeable changes.

first: instead of the large 7 person crew, it was down to a cozy party of 3. due to some schedule conflicts, harper, kyle and i were the only ones who were able to make it this year. nonetheless, it was amazing and we still had a grand time!

the three amigos

who’s who?

second: the snow was amazing. fresh powder makes the grueling hike up a lot more endurable when you’re not forced to listen to steel on ice for 2 1/2 hours.

winter wonderland

third: the hut was updated this past summer. it was a lot cleaner, roomier, for guests as well as the rangers! also, the balcony that we used the first year to star gaze on has been boarded up for the ranger’s loft extension.  a bit sad, but we like rangers to be warm and comfortable.  also, with the renovations also came the addition of a new mud room. it was quite handy for getting gear on and off without having to be in the elements and made cleaning the hut a ton easier with out snow puddles everywhere.

now the rangers have a bunk bed, stove and table for 2.

fourth: we made a new friend. his name is jerry. he lives in the room with the snow shoes. and he likes cheese. the floors are just slats together over the snow and dirt. he fit through these slates and got to harper’s cheese that we left in this first room aka fridge. we offered our almond cheese but as harper politely declined “if jerry didn’t want your cheese, i’m not sure i want yours.”

i guess we’re not eating that cheese.

fifth:  spontaneity is key.  on saturday morning we decided to explore some back country trails around our hut.  granted we did get lost and can officially say ‘we walked in a circle’ without lying but we had a blast.  it was beautiful. it was a great work out. and it was a bit scary at times to think that we found cougar tracks. but alas, harper and kyle reassured me that they were hare tracks. needless to say, it was amazing. and we’re still alive.

and last but not least: i have a great photo for a christmas card for next year…

…if only we can remember to use it in 10 months.