I didn’t have normal butterflies fluttering around my stomach. I had butterflies on triple mochas bouncing around in complete disorder, trying to work their way up my esophagus.
After a summertime worth of thinking about training for our hike up to Camp Muir, I was about to accomplish this strenuous goal.
The hike was originally supposed to take place on June 30th. On the Wednesday before the hike, I humbly walked in to Tina’s office to let her know “I’m officially bailing on the hike.” I was not even close to being in shape for it. I felt a little weak for doing it, but was glad all that climbing a mountain nonsense was behind me so I could go back to my sedentary lifestyle. On Thursday, I was told the hike was cancelled due to poor weather and would be rescheduled for a date in late August. Tina tracked me down to let me know I had two more months to get in shape. Oh lucky me – Yippy! In front of several coworkers listening to the conversation, I reluctantly said I’d be ready for the hike climb on August 25th.
I actually started training during the first few weeks of July – riding my bike for hours on the Burke Gilman Trail and walking as much as possible whenever I could. Then the dog days of summer hit and my training subsided. It was replaced by golf, pizza, and watching the Mariners on TV. Before I knew it, August 25th was days away and reality hit – I was going to climb a mountain with five athletic in-shape coworkers and I couldn’t remember the last time I trained.
A couple of trips to REI were in order to buy the supplies I should have purchased months earlier in order to break them in; hiking boots, trekking poles, socks, and other miscellaneous items.
As I packed up everything the night before, I didn’t have normal butterflies fluttering around my stomach. I had butterflies on triple mochas bouncing around in complete disorder, trying to work their way up my esophagus.
My alarm rang at 4am on Saturday. We were all meeting at Verity at 5am to carpool down to Mt. Rainier and get an early start up the mountain. The forecast called for rain and the skies did not look like they would change their mind. The road up to Paradise, the official visitor center of Mt. Rainier, was in a dense fog. Bill told us that we might not even see the summit or have any views at all. It looked like I was in for a long day.
Paradise sits at an elevation of 5400 feet – just over a mile high. We were to climb 4600 more feet, and I was about to find out how much of a difference altitude makes when you are exerting yourself on a “strenuous” hike practically two miles in the sky.
To be continued…
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