Day One – 12/3, Mt. St. Helens

We finally did it. We made it to a mountain and we skied. The entire month of November had passed us by and I was beginning to wonderful if we would ever have our first day. A bit of an exaggeration, but I was spoiled my first season by learning to ski on November 11th and I lament any season that doesn’t start as early.

Originally I was going to miss out on this trip, until The Explorer realized that duh, I had nothing planned for Saturday, of course I should join them! So, a couple hours after he left for Portland to meet up with Nick, I packed up Sue Ann and met them in Woodland. We spent about an hour moving things from D’s Subaru to my Subaru and then back again at least twice, but then we loaded ourselves (plus Ozzy) into Jamie and we were off.

The four of us went to Ape Cave two weeks ago (my first caving trip, despite The Explorer being a caveman who spends upwards of a month 27 days in the woods caving every summer) and there was so much snow on the ground. However, it has not snowed since it first started to fall, so there was no new and a good portion of it had melted off (two weeks ago there was snow on the ground way before we reached the Ape Cave parking lot and this time we didn’t reach snow until the Marble Mountain Sno-Park, which is PAST the cave).

After plowing through some snow drifts in the parking lot (the same one we parked in last March and had to shovel a spot in), we got down to business:


We bundled up and caused a ruckus for a bit before realizing something very, very unfortunate: we only had one, 2-person tent. One, 2-person, summer tent. This is what happens when I tag along as a side note: we forget The Explorer’s 3-person winter tent is being repaired and Nick doesn’t bring his tent. Nick and Oz opt for the car and Daryl and I set up the summer tent (thank goodness for 0° sleeping bags!).

I woke up a couple-three-four hours later to the sounds of a large group of people talking and laughing. Those early birds were off to actually summit and I fell back asleep to the sounds of “the beacon goes between your first and second layers” being repeated approximately a million times.

Several hours later we wake up to brilliant blue skies.

Who says you can’t eat good while camping? I’m actually fairly certain I eat a better breakfast while camping than I ever do at the house.
This morning’s menu included banana pancakes and chicken-and-apple sausage. We forgot to grind beans for the trip (and the inverter kept blowing as soon as we tried to use the grinder), so we had Oregon chai and ginger-peach tea. I’m fairly certain this was the inaugural use of our new Fozzils bowl/plates. I love them! I snapped together one corner and it was the perfect platting for my pancakes and sausage. Plus, since we have two of them, you can put the sticky sides facing each other before putting them back in the kitchen bag to avoid any messes!

We got our act together and set out on the trail. We had to hike the first bit of the trail because of the lack of snow, but it wasn’t too long before we strapped on our skis (or split-board, as is the case with Nick). We again realized how unprepared for this trip we were when I tried to lock into my bindings only to discover that I must not’ve been the only person to rent my skis last year (though it was obviously a late season rental since I definitely used them on May 7th) because the bindings were adjusted way smaller than my boot. Thankfully my bindings are awesome and Daryl was able to adjusted them without needing to break out any tools.
After finally getting ourselves situated (including Nick switching which board was on which food), we headed up the mountain.

We skied up to the same spot Danielle, Daryl, and I stopped last March for a little break.

While on our snack break, people were starting to head down the mountain after summiting. Including a guy drinking a Fort George Vortex! I called out to him that I liked his beer and that we had the same ones in our packs and then we cheers-ed Fort George for having delicious beer in cans.

We had a great view of Mt. Adams from where we were. We’re planning on climbing her later in the year as a prep trip for Mt. Rainier for our birthdays (Daryl and Nick share a birthday at the beginning of June and I’m a late June baby).

We got ourselves situated and off we went.
[I spy with my little eye my awesome new ski poles that Nick accidentally bought me in exchange for two pounds of Thundermuck and D’s old three-section poles.]

We skin up to 4800′ just in time for sunset.

True to our word, we crack open our delicious Vortex!

After the sun disappeared we started down the mountain.
I didn’t get a ton of turns, but I got a few before I decided I’d be faster if I just hiked (ps, I love my new pack! I was able to fit my 2L platypus, three extra layers, snacks, goggles, two pairs of gloves, .6L Sigg, and my skis in it so comfortably without it being too heavy!). We made it back to the car around 6:30 and made delicious sandwiches before heading back to town.

It was a really good first day on the slopes. Definitely a much needed reconnaissance mission before our New Years’ Eve trip.
The Explorer and my goal this year is to get 100 days of turns in (we can officially call ourselves ski-bums then), so I’m happy we finally got Day One.


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