Student blogger Toby Cutts has an epic day on the mountain
The clock is ticking. The leaves are falling. The temperature is plummeting… fall is in the air! The clock is against us.
About 6,000 feet up/ halfway from the top
On October 7th a band of students, along with a faculty member, were driven to Mount Rainier by one of Green River College’s bus drivers. They spent the day in the hot sun, hiking amidst beautiful autumn scenery, and enjoying the marvels of Mount Rainier's wildlife.
It is the end of summer. Those few and blissful months of sun are becoming distant in our rear-view mirrors. Just in time, however, one faculty member at Green River College gave a group of students one last day in the outdoors. With the beauty of fall and the still-warm embrace of the ending summer, they made their way to the mountains. On one of the last hot days of the year, a small band of Green River students ventured to the great outdoors and hiked along the side of Mount Rainier.
In early October, Green River College sent some of its finest students to explore the Lonely Mountain, that is, Mount Rainier. An eventful morning sparked the beginning of this trip: Club leaders not waking up in time, bus drivers nearly leaving students to fend for themselves in the forest, and two hours of queues at the entrance.
Finally. Finally, we made it to the car park where we could set off. Stepping out of the van we could quite quickly see that our patience was paying off. The crisp, clean air was filled with the sound of birds ... and the other hundreds of tourists that had the same idea as us … use the last hot day of the year to hike. For this wasn’t just the last hot day but also the last day the mountain trails would be open to the public!
After a quick bite in the restaurant, a round of toilet breaks, and some stunning photographs taken at the base of our climb, we began the trek. Although the hike started off packed with people, the pathways soon became peaceful as the hikers spread out.
One of the first natural beauties we came across was one of the waterfalls with crystal clear water splashing its way down the surface of the rock face. We soon realised, the higher we climbed, the more spectacular views we would come across. From the red and yellow array of colours that spread across the fields, to the unfathomable size of the mountain above us, we were not short of breathtaking views. Which was difficult as we were already struggling for breath … well I certainly was.
Our day was laced with incredible views, some far-too-comfortable chipmunks, and a lonely blue grouse. Not quite on schedule, but relaxed with the beating sun and strikingly beautiful scenery, we made our way back down to the van.
Soon we found out that one boy, who we had seen darting here, sprinting there and disappearing from view on multiple occasions had been hiking like an athlete. While the rest of us had completed about 15,000 steps, this lad had been running a marathon of 45,000.
Some slow, some fast, and some a flash, everyone was exhausted on the journey back to the college, but very satisfied with the opportunity we had just accomplished. And so we said goodbye to the Lonely Mountain … until after the winter perhaps?
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