July 13, 2019
I sat up in my tent this morning and my friend Alisha from Tacoma ran over to say good morning. She’d rolled in late last night while I was asleep. It was so great to see a familiar face! We caught up over coffee and drove over to Packwood, where we continued with pastries. We picked up snacking veggies at the farmers market, packed up for our Mt Adams climb, and stopped at a brewery to grab tacos and local apricot cider before we left town.
Fourty miles of dirt forest service roads spit us out at the trailhead for the South Spur. We began the hike up in the evening with perfect temperatures, stopping just short of the Lunch Counter at a beautiful stacked rock shelter site and pitched the tent. I cooked up a pot of Indian food and we watched Mounts St Helens and Rainier fade into pastel colors.
July 14, 2019
A 6am alarm shattered my beautiful sleep and both Alisha and I decided to snooze a little longer. We drank coffee and ate oatmeal from the warmth of our sleeping bags and loaded our summit packs. We started up the low angle snow on the South Spur route. The weather was perfect and we could see Mounts Hood and St Helens all day. I felt fit and quick on the uphill. Alisha was right behind me with a quick, steady pace.
Soon we crested Piker’s Peak, the false summit. Icy winds ripped into my skin and I threw extra layers on top of my shirt. We made our way up to the true summit, and snow conditions started degrading a bit. The snow turned wet and sugary over a thin layer of ice that covered talus. Not ideal, but not awful.
We reached the summit and decided glissading down this last slope was a poor idea. Lower at Piker’s Peak, glissading conditions were prime. I gave Alisha a quick primer on breaking with her ice axe and feet, and we slid down the mountain.
The glissade was absolute fun! I found a large Tyvec sheet mid mountain and started sliding even faster. My butt was so frozen I wanted to throw up. We giggled like children all the way down the main slope and walked back to camp feeling drunk with joy.
Back at camp, we lounged in the warm tent, soggy layers drying in the sun. It felt amazing being out of the snow and in the warmth again. Eventually we gained the motivation to pack up camp and start hiking down to the car. We met a couple, Amy and Erin, on the way down, and joined them for dinner.
The four of us met at the Trout Lake Inn, a local gem. Dinner was delicious and our new friends kept us laughing the whole time. We split dessert and parted ways. Alisha dropped me off at Ike Kinswa State Park and we hugged goodbye.