Although I moved to Seattle about 4 years ago, I still hadn’t see the famous Mt Ranier National Park, so we decided to go snowshoeing!  Eric had snagged all the gear I would need at the REI Garage Sale earlier in the year, including some sweet hiking boots and my own pack.  (We later found out that the Used pack had travelled to Stratford Upon Avon via an old receipt in its pocket.  I made a vow to take it back there someday.)  Todd and Dawn, our amazing outdoorsy friends, eagerly agreed join us.  I’d only gone snowshoeing once before, about a year ago with the same group, but it was a long and slushy affair.  Ready to see some real snow, we woke up at 6am (T & D were up much earlier to catch their ferry to meet us), picked up our comrades at 7am, then drove 2.5 hours to the mountain.  When we got to the top, the main road was closed, but lucky for us, that meant we got to bypass all the tourists and find a less travelled path.  We hiked up the mountain from about 9:30am and didn’t return to the car until 2:30pm.  The hike itself wasn’t hard, but it did take some effort.  I got to have a nerd moment, using the claws in the front of my snowshoes and pretending I was X23.  I’m sure my hip flexors will feel it tomorrow!  It was hard to be annoyed with all the breathtaking beauty around.  Fresh snow was falling off and on during our (nearly) 5 mile round trip.  The trail was called Wonderland and it definitely lived up to its name.  We stopped occasionally to take photos, remove layers, and indulge in a plethora of snacks.  We never saw any other hikers, which was wonderful, but at least saw some bunny tracks!  On our way back out, we saw that the main road was open so we took a detour up to the visitor center and poked around the little museum and gift shop before heading back down.

The scenery was like nothing I’d ever seen before: a serene wilderness of perfect powdered snow and sleepy trees.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how lucky I was to be there and how thankful I was for these friends who were willing to support me in this adventure.  Since I had no idea what I expect, I relied on their planning skills and appreciated knowledge earned from their many experiences.  Snowshoeing is definitely not something I would have ever expected myself to try just a few years ago!  We didn’t make it back home until after dark (there might have been a much needed and well-deserved pizza pitstop in there) and it was a day well spent.  Another great PNW adventure to add to the books!