Marmot Pass

I’m really missing these three people right now, so hence the inspiration to get this entry up. It’s been almost two years, it’s hard to believe since this trip, but it is hands down the most amazing backpacking trip I’ve been on. A beautiful weekend filled with breathtaking views and incredible people. This was the first time I met Kevin and Jamie, my inspirational couple and I am so grateful to call my friends. What better way to get to know some people than by backpacking?

We headed up to Marmot Pass one Friday morning in August in 2010…we took our time and even stopped for a comforting breakfast before we headed up the long forest service road. As with any time I go backpacking for the first time with people, I felt a little insecure. I’m not the fastest hiker, and definitely not with a big pack on. Luckily for me, Kevin and Jamie were fine with my pace, and we gradually made our way to the top. 5.3 miles and 2,500 feet later we arrived after passing plenty of wildflowers and waterfalls and creeks along the way.

At 6,000 feet we were pretty happy. Usually the peak is the pinnacle of a trip, but it was only going to go up from there. We found a great little camping spot just below the ridge. No one else was around as far as we can see and after setting up camp we scrambled back to the ridge for a wonderful dinner. It was also my first dehydrated beef mac and cheese meal (incredibly satisfying after a day of hiking!). We watched the sun set over the Olympic mountains as we enjoyed our meal and planned our adventure for the next day. That is, up until the creep looking fog came through the bowl and I got scared and ran back to the tent.

That night, there wasn’t a single bird or gust of wind to be heard. It was dead silent. Kind of creepy but also amazing. The next morning we woke up and had a leisurely breakfast. Thank god for Bill and his patience t bring me my hot chocolate in the morning! I’m close to impossible to get out of the tent in the morning unless there is a sunrise. So whoever is camping with me usually has to drag me out with some hot chocolate to warm me up! We ate our breakfast and looked out at the beautiful bowl of greenery before us. To my surprise we were greeted with an actual marmot! I named him Harold because he was rather large and fuzzy.

Then we went for a short hike to the next peak, Buckhorn Mountain. it was a short hike but pretty steep, and it took us a minute to realize we were at a false summit at first. But eventually we made it, but it was barely noon when we finished our lunch at the top. So what do we do? Looked around us and consulted our guide Kevin on where to do. Kevin decided the lake at the bottom seemed like a good destination. There wasn’t a trail there, but it seemed easy enough. This is when the real adventure began.

After scrambling down some chaucey rocks on the otherside of the mountain, we came to a snow clearing and I decided that sliding on my butt was a lot more fun. Jamie tried skiing down with her poles. It took a lot longer than expected but now we just walk straight through the woods to the lake right?

Nope. Two hours of bushwhacking later…we finally arrived to our destination. Now, to climb back up the ridge and back to our campsite. You’ll ntoice there are less pictures during this series of events since at this point I was pretty tired and we were tryign to outrun a storm. The last mile or so we spent in the pouring rain, but it was warm so it didn’t really matter. Lucky for Jamie and I we had the boys to fix us up a nice hot meal when we made it back! The rain passed pretty quickly after dinner and the guys decided they needed to go make rainbows and gather more water. Jamie and I stayed in our tent and did our girly thing of going through pictures of the days adventure.

Sunday we woke up to more sunshine and all the way across the valley we hear da coupel arguing as they packed up their site. We laughed and hit the trail for home. It was definitely a trip to remember, and more importantly, significant because it is when I met Kevin and Jamie whom I can’t imagine sharing the outdoors without.

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