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Glacier Peak: Wading Into the Whiteout

I have not been in a hurry to return to guiding, but my heart has felt called to spend long days in the mountains, teaching skills that I have procured over years of trials and tribulations. This summer is different. I am more deliberate in my accepting of trips. I have asked more questions, and been more careful to take my own needs into account.

I recently accepted to work a six day alpine mountaineering course in the Glacier Peak wilderness-- a place I have never been, but always have wanted to go. The route is long, consisting of many miles of off-trail travel, snow and glacier navigation, and the exposure of remoteness and high up places.

I met my team at 7am, with coffee in hand, and a mask over my face. No one could see my smile and I could not see theirs. We meticulously checked off the items on our packing list, ensuring we had the neccessary gear to spend 6 days in the remote backcountry of the North Cascades. We set off to the trailhead, and began our hike in.

The first five miles are relatively flat. Winding alongside the North Fork of the Sauk River through towering old growth-- Cedars and Douglas Firs. The forest floor teeming with life in the forms of ferns, moss, lichen, mushrooms, snakes, beetles, banana slugs, and more. The sun filtered through the leaves in a way that illuminated the forest below in corridors of light. The cool hush of the river alongside us provided a welcomed breeze.