Seattle adventures, life, home, and coffee—in no particular order

Notes from on top of the world (belated)

Last weekend we hiked to the top of the world. Well, not really the top of the world, but damn near close.

My cousin won a much-coveted lottery slot for High Hut, a communal, solar-powered cabin near the town of Ashford, WA. It was, in a word, incredible.

Discouraged by news of little to no snow cover, we started our hike with snowshoes strapped to our packs. From the trailhead, we were promised 3+ miles on the Mount Tahoma Trail System.

Our small group included me and my sister, cousin Liz and her man-friend, Clay. Another group of cousins/friends would be joining us at High Hut later that evening.

We steadily hiked up the trail, quickly progressing from dirt to ice-pack to snow. Along the way there were plenty of opportunities for my sister Christina to document the gorgeous views–and the red faces and breathless expressions–with her camera. Finally, we reached the home stretch. After posing for a quick photo, we high-tailed it to the top. As the cabin came into view, so did something even more magnificent–the perfect silhouette of Mount Rainier, set to a backdrop of blue, blue sky.

The rest of the day was spent napping, eating, drinking, eating, exploring, making birthday brownies (following the high altitude instructions, of course) and waiting for the birthday girl and her posse to arrive. The second half of our group staggered in- amidst the fog and swirling snow- around midnight. We met them on the trail and back at the cabin, sang a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’, complete with quickly melting second-hand candles.

The Whole Mottley Crew

Saturday morning’s egg sandwiches and pancakes were somehow bested by a gorgeous hike through fresh powder on the Ben Jones Loop. Rumor has it that Ben Jones was a friend from afar to the trail system; he was otherwise unknown, but his will revealed a sizable donation, resulting in a great 2 or 3 mile loop from High Hut.

Ben Jones Loop

All too soon, it was time to head home. We hiked back to the cabin to lunch and gather our things, only to find another group had already made themselves at home. This is no crime since the cabin is at its core a communal spot for all travelers, but they were cold, unwelcoming, and breathing down our necks for us to leave. So we did.

The hike back down was marked by spectacularly blue sky and an impromptu mix of vodka-snow-lemonades.

Saturday's descentVLs for everyone!

Brief summary:

-High Hut was amazing. Snowshoeing, also amazing. Vodka lemonades = nectar of the gods. Cousins, especially those who have the good fortune of winning lottery drawings, are fabulous. Crabby middle-aged hikers are lame. High Hut is a future destination of choice!

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This entry was posted on January 28, 2010 by in Uncategorized.
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