Right. I got new snowshoes in June and then the weather gets good? Is that fair? I think not. And that's why we once again give thanks for the great Mt. Rainier.
Sunrise welcomed us with blue skies and freakishly warm weather. Ok, kids. Lose the long johns and fleeces. Something tells me we're going to need sunscreen more than down.
For just about the entire two hour drive (or at least the 30 minutes we spent in the Park when they weren't allowed to read or watch a movie) they were asking if there would be enough snow for them to try their new snowshoes.
Yes. Well, I think so. Even if there isn't, we'll get a good hike in.
Driving up, their questions became more insistent. I all but promised there would be sufficient snow. Oh please oh please oh please let there be enough snow.
No need to worry. Walls of snow lined the parking lot. The meadows were mostly coated, but if this weather lasts it won't be for long.
Can we put on the snowshoes now?
No, we're still in the parking lot.
How about now?
No, we're in the bathroom.
How about now?
Ok, fine. (At least I wouldn't have to carry them anymore.)
A few haggard climbers were stumbling back to the lodge as we started climbing through the meadows.
I questioned each and gathered the following beta:
The snow would peter out just after a series of narrow ridges. (Translated: Keep the kids close and you'll be carrying those snowshoes soon.)
Closer to Frozen Lake you'll find there are some snow slopes you'll have to cross. (Translated: Keep the kids close and don't slip.)
Beyond Frozen Lake it's snow free. (Translated: It's hot has heck.)
The lookout is totally worth it. (Translated: Keep going.)
Nothing they said was wrong. We pushed through the snow and I let Clara float over the snow without 'shoes when she said she didn't need them anymore.
I let Lilly be her wild-haired free self when she wanted to dance with the flowers and roll in the snow.
And I let Henry be a big boy when he wanted to cross the snowfields by himself. (Except when the runout might have been... unwelcome.)
The Fremont Lookout hides behind the hill when you look up from Frozen Lake. The climb to the shoulder was hard for the kids, but when they saw the roof of the lookout there was no turning back. And when they saw snow near the base they were nearly running to cool off.
We talked with the rangers (including a very pregnant ranger that I think made quite the impact on the girls) and sent a picture to Mom. Sadly, we had better coverage way up there than we do at home. Thanks, AT&T.
We raced down passing a few stragglers who were still headed up. Within sight of the lodge it suddenly struck me that the lodge might close in five minutes. Visions of distraught children (and a more distraught me) flooded my head so I sent Clara running ahead to see. As we rounded the final bend Clara waved relief and signaled we had an extra hour.
Refreshed in clean clothes we enjoyed sundaes on the bench outside. We talked with visitors from Florida who had arrived in Seattle on Thursday and knew nothing but summer weather. I tried to disabuse them of the notion that the weather was always good, but with kids eating ice cream I didn't try to hard. It wasn't worth the fight on such a spectacular day.