Mt St Helens Summit Hike
On 10/10/2010, I summited Mt St Helens with my friends. It was one of the most memorable hikes in my life. It required more physical strength than most of the hikes I had been on. The four of us made a great team that helped and pushed each other forward towards the summit. When it was pouring rain on the morning of the hike, MCN said, let’s go, we’d have a great time regardless. So off we went, as we got higher and higher, the pouring rain came to a drizzle, to a fog. Fall foliage showed burning red, all to be masked by a thick fog. The fog was thick mid way up when we went above the timber line. There were rocks, large boulders and nothing else. We could barely make out the direction of our trail post as the fog got heavier and heavier. Trekking required much attention. The couple of people that laughed at my suggestion of bringing along trekking poles started to regret at this point. We put the thought of how much harder it’d be coming down behind us and went forward. And all of a sudden, as we neared the top, the wind picked up. The sun came through — that’s not quite true–we went above the clouds. The large boulders turned into sliding sand. For each step we took forward, we had to do it against strong chilling wind. I started feeling mild altitude sickness symptoms. Mike stayed with me and persuaded me to rest and drink water. Slowly, we caught up with the group and got up to the top of the crater. My secret wish of sharing the experience of summiting the mountain with my love came true. The wind was strong. A few minutes of leaving my fingers out of the gloves to take pictures meant frozen digits in sharp pain. The fog just kept getting pushed over the edge of the crater like a current of water. In a distance, Mt Rainier and Mt Adams were visible. We were tired but a brief 15 minutes of break at the top for our souvenir photos and victory walk around the crater was enough to send us flying back down the steep sliding sand hill as if it were snow. We felt accomplished for having summited not just a volcano but a giant beauty. This was also the beginning of a few beautiful friendships.