on your way up to Mazama Ridge you’ll turn around and experience shortness of breath

This is a view I enjoyed last Saturday while I was snowshoeing up to Mazama Ridge. I was a little disappointed the trees weren’t flocked with snow, that’s one of the most beautiful things you can see up here in the wintertime. On the other hand, I appreciated not losing both of my feet to frostbite or being devoured by a woolly mammoth.

I know what you’re probably thinking about this picture- Jason, why did you cut the top of Mt. Rainier off? The answer is the summit is a long, long way off. Part of the wonder of exploring up here are the gigantic bowls and meadows at the foot of the mountain. In the wintertime, it’s like you’re walking through the snow desert, the expanses of blank space are stunning. For me, the upper mountain fades away.  Here, you’re looking at the head of Paradise Valley. I foolishly snowshoed my way down it last Spring when I should have turned around. I was exhausted from going the wrong way from up higher and felt like I was stuck between really steep, spooky snow. It’s probably only the second time I’ve ever gone against my instinct when I was hiking. I felt like I was safer going down than struggling uphill. Fortunately I was able to follow along a line of trees (but far enough away to avoid tree wells).

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