Mount Rainier from Third Burroughs Mountain
Our anniversary was this weekend. I missed celebrating it last year when I was in France. We have an unusual way of celebrating. We go for a hike.
Our favorite place to go is Burroughs Mountain out of Sunrise at Mt. Rainier. The trail starts at Sunrise which is at 6,400 ft and climbs up into the tundra-like terrain on the shoulders of Mt. Rainier. Burroughs Mountain is actually three small summits which give you an armchair vista down on the powerful glaciers of the northern side of Rainier. First Burroughs is about 1.5 miles from Sunrise at 7,200ft and Second Burroughs is a mile further at 7,400ft. The last mile seems so much steeper. We've also gone on to Third Burroughs which is even wilder and closer to the icy glaciers.
For our anniversary hike, we like to leave later in the afternoon, have dinner on Second Burroughs while watching the shadows lengthen across the crevasses and then hike back at sundown. It usually takes us about 1 1/2 hours so we try to leave by 7pm.
This weather is unusual this year. It snowed last weekend at Sunrise and it has been cold. It feels like mid-September. We checked the forecast and it was supposed to be warm. It was sunny at home so I packed up a dinner of sauteed shrimp, lemon orzo and caprese salad. We made a latte and packed it in a thermos along with the stroopwafles Amy brought back from Holland.
It was sunny but windy and cold when we reached the parking lot at Sunrise. Clouds swirled around the mountain and clouds hugged the summit. The trail is steep as it climbs through the meadow at Sunrise to Sourdough Ridge and turns west towards Burroughs Mountain.
The wind was whipping up from below at the junction to Berkeley Meadow and Fremont Lookout. Here the trail turns rocky as it climbs through the shale. This area is so botanically interesting. The paintbrush and lupine are dwarfed by the cold and hostile growing conditions. But you don't want to take your eyes off the trail too long because it is a steep drop down the side.
First Burroughs was engulfed in fog with just a sliver of view. Should we continue on? I wanted to. We might be lucky and get a break. The next mile is always so hard for me. The altitude takes its toll on my energy level. It was particularly hard today since I knew it might be miserable at the top.
But we had a break in the clouds and found a warm spot on the rocks below away from the wind. I dished up dinner and we toasted our years together with a glass of wine while we watched the lengthening shadows on the ice below.
The clouds were thickening and we decided to head back. It was a good idea since it was getting foggy again. It was cold and windy and a little damp while we scrambled back to the car. The latte was perfect and stroopwafles never tasted better.
Getting reading at Sunrise
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