Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mt. Rainier's Camp Muir

I think it's good to mix it up. Let's go hiking!

On Friday I substituted Saturday's scheduled 14 mile run with a 10 mile mountain hike to Mt. Rainier's Camp Muir (elevation 10,188 feet).

We park about 1/2 mile from where the trail starts. Elevation 5,000 feet. Put on hiking boots instead of running shoes. Pack our backpacks with food, water and clothes. Put on my trusty Garmin Forerunner watch. Eat a sandwich. And also pack my Treo 650 phone/camera.

From the trail it's 4.5 miles up to Camp Muir. The trail is paved then turns to nature trail. This stops after a few miles when we get to a creek. After crossing the Pebble Creek by stepping across rocks, the trail turns into a 45 degree climb in snow. It levels out some. Maybe only a 15% incline now, but continues in snow. There isn't a "trail" for the next 2.2 miles to Camp Muir. It's all snow. The incline is like a ski hill. It's fantastic.

The view is incredible once we're above the clouds at around 8000 ft. The air is thinner. I can hear my heart beating as if I'm running even though I'm only doing a .5 min/mi pace!

We make it to Camp Muir! Eat some more food. Take a look around then head back down.

After completing the hike, I checked out the Camp Muir website to learn more. I really didn't know much about this hike prior to put on the books.

"Although thousands of people hike to Camp Muir each year, it is not for the inexperienced or novice hiker. This hike is long, arduous and potentially hazardous if the weather turns nasty.

Mistakes in navigation when traveling to or from Camp Muir during storms or "white-outs" have resulted in lost climbers and hikers and occasional fatalities."

It was a great cross training workout and I didn't die!

Thanks to Dan for taking me.