The Muir Piste

After spending the Fall on the road in the desert, it felt incredible to be back up in the alpine of the Cascades.  This day happened to be filled not only with the mountains, but also with great company, cloudless sunshine, and skis (my favorite form of transportation/recreation). 

 Forest McBrian skiing on the Muir snowfield.

Forest McBrian skiing on the Muir snowfield.

I like climbing, I truly do.  But every Fall, during the annual extended "roctober", I find myself distracted by thoughts of freezing levels, precipitation amounts, and oh yes, powder.  I try to stay focused on the task at hand, getting better at rock climbing, especially this last Fall because I was training for my AMGA Rock Instructor Course.  But every time I would find myself with cell service or a wifi signal, I would find the NOAA Cascades weather page up on my iPhone.

 Climbing in Red Rock, NV

Climbing in Red Rock, NV

Although it was a long drive home from Joshua Tree (almost 800 miles on I-5), Forest, my new husband and I both felt a sense of ease heading north, heading into the clouds.  By mid-Oregon the rain had started, and both of us grew smiles because we knew we were getting close to home.  The first week back in North Bend, it was near flooding, and I couldn't have been happier.

For those of you who are from the NW, you may know these emotions well, or you may think I am crazy for loving the rain as much as I do.  But to me it means the possibility of snow.  The possibility of endless powder days, a deep snowpack, and true happiness.  I am never as happy as I am when I am skiing. 

This last Sunday, I went up to the Muir snowfield with a few friends.  We knew that we may run into the rain crust from Friday, but the weather looked good, and there was snow on the ground.  While the crust was there, along with some nicely formed sastrugi, rain runnels, and frozen marbles on the snow's surface, the majority of the descent was was reminiscent of a creamy, windblown piste.  It's hard to complain about snow conditions when the weather is beautiful, there are humbling glaciers surrounding you, and you are laughing with friends.  That being said, here's hoping for some rain in North Bend, and some snow in the mountains!