I've checked September off the list in my quest to ski every month of the year.
As we did in August, my girlfriend and I recently hit the road for Mt. Rainier to see what we could find for snow. We were down to 2 weekends remaining in September and we were feeling the pressure to get a ski day in. So, despite a forecast that called for mostly cloudy skies and a 50% chance for rain, we drove to Paradise on the south side of Mt. Rainier National Park.
We anticipated slogging through rain and possibly navigating our way in whiteout conditions on the Muir snowfield. To our amazement, we arrived at Paradise and found the sun shining brightly in a brilliant blue sky. Sometimes you really just don’t know until you go.
Up we hiked, leaving the Paradise parking lot at 5,420 feet on paved pathways and dirt trails with our eyes on snow patches leading up to Camp Muir (10,080 feet). Shortly after reaching Pebble Creek (about 7,000 feet) we hit snow and switched out of hiking shoes and into ski boots. We stepped into our skis and skinned up the remaining 3,000 feet, arriving at Camp Muir as high clouds moved in and the wind picked up.
The ski down was good. Not great, but not bad, either. Gray clouds now obscured the blue sky and the dust-covered snow was a bit grabby. But it is September, after all, and I think I may have still let out a hoot or two while making a turn.
After 3,000 feet of linking turns through the sometimes-sticky, sometimes-smooth snow, we hit the dirt trail at Pebble Creek just as the clouds let go of their first rain drops. The hike back to the car was occasionally wet but that didn’t dampen our spirits as we thought ahead to our ski options for October. Where to then? Our leading candidate at the moment: Mt. Baker, which rises to 10,778 feet near the Washington-British Columbia border.
Here’s to hoping for fresh snow next month! Who else is getting excited for some early snowfall?