Famous advice from my Dad throughout the weekend: It's Just a Big Hill, Julie.
So after packing up all of our stuff Saturday night, we said goodnight and tried to get some sleep. I set my alarm for 2:40am! WHAT?
We got onto the trail at 5:45am and seemed to be one of the first groups to head up. The parking lot had been pretty full of cars and people who spent the night in tents. They were all waking up to 32 degree temps and I was glad we spent the night in our warm beds. The trek through the trees was peaceful and beautiful.
The first person we came upon was a man in a dress with a matching flower. Not completely unheard of in our neck of the woods, but it shortly became apparent that today was a very special day on Mount St. Helens. The majority of people climbing the mountain...and there were a lot...were wearing dresses and skirts. Wish we had known, because I would have loved to see my Dad and Brother dressed in their finest girly duds. Here's my dad talking to one of my favorite characters - mostly because of the ironing board strapped to his back for sliding down the hill once he reached the top.
This picture shows Dad on the left and if you look way up at the top and to the right you can see the little tiny black dots of people ahead of us.
I really had no idea what to expect of this mountain, other than I was sure that if I made it to the top, I would then be on easy street.
Ahem...so not true (but more on that later in Part 2). So, we made it to the top!! in 4 hours and 50 minutes. This is longer than my usual roundtrip hikes, and it was all UPHILL!!! On Snow!!! Mount St. Helens used to tower around 10,000ft. After it's 1980 eruption, you now summit at about 8300 ft. When I got to the top and looked down into the crater, I couldn't believe I had accomplished it! I'm tearing up now just thinking about the beauty of my surroundings, the day, and being there with two of my most favorite guys.
I was pretty happy that I made it to the top exactly when I did because I wasn't sure how much more I could take. My legs were pretty done. I shed a few tears at the top and thanked Dad and Ron for a GREAT Mothers Day.
Wow, the views!!
So Ron and Dad set up a nice little viewing seat for us and we got to eating lunch and shivering. Although we were warm making our way to the top in light pants/shorts and a few layers on our upper body, we had to pull out the coats and head coverings at the top due to the wind. We had amazing views, the bluest of blue skies and I would pretty much call it a perfect day for climbing a volcano :-)
...to be continued with Part II... The Descent...