Cabin fever is a real thing. It affects outdoor enthusiast during the winter months every year. I have fallen victim to this many times. This year I decided to do something about it. I have been threatening to buy snowshoes for the last year or so, knowing it’s something I wanted to do, however, I always seem to talk myself out of them before I hit “purchase”. Well, mid-winter, I found a screaming deal on the shoes I wanted and I couldn’t pass it up. A few days later they were delivered to my front porch. I wasn’t sure if I had time in my busy schedule for another “hobby” but I knew I would kick myself if I didn’t try.
I just needed to find someone who wanted to go do some hiking and that had snowshoes. My good friend and co-worker, Luke, had been talking about it a few weeks before. I brought it up to him and a few days later he had himself a pair as well.
Luckily, we live close to Mount Rainier National Park. So finding a good place to hike was not hard. We picked a Saturday and after an hour long drive we were in the parking lot for the trailhead. At 4500’ of elevation, we had nothing but rain, miserable rain. We put on our rain gear, extended our trekking poles and strapped the shoes on. We got about a ½ mile down the trail and the rain turned to snow. When you live in Western Washington, any weather but rain is a win. We kept hiking, enjoying the snow and tall trees. We crested the top of the ridge and then started down into the basin to the lake. When we reached the lake, it was windy and socked in. There wasn’t much for views and the lake was frozen over. We had a quick snack, mixed a WA, snapped a couple photos and started the climb back to the ridge top. We had a good sweat going by the time we started back down into the trees to the truck. When we got back to the trailhead, it was still snowing and the wind still gusting. We loaded the truck up and headed back home.
There is nothing special about this 4.5-mile trip, we didn’t see any wildlife, we didn’t have any incredible views. We had sustained wind, snow, rain and a blistered toe from having my binding too tight on the descent. What this trip did though, was remind me of two things. The first being that National Parks were Americas best idea and that even though it was winter, it shouldn’t stop you from living the lifestyle we all work so hard to attain, The mountains don’t only need to be enjoyed during hunting season or when the weather allows. Get out there and enjoy this time we have.