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The View from High Hut

A year ago. And some. We slodged up to High Hut.  Kids clomped alongside us in snow boots the first mile, zig-zagging from water trickle here to the top of a snow pile there. Until it was all snow. And the road…all up. And there were still three miles to trudge. Trudge or drag. And we did both. The pictures I took from behind were like connected dots–Husband in the middle and a kid’s hand clasped in each of his. Which is how we made it up. Together.

That. And a lot of snacks. And a little singing. And probably other stuff, too. But. Anyway.

The thing is, the experience was unforgettable.

And so when we planned our trip back on the last day of August, we knew we wanted to stay the night in the Hut. Not just flop on the bunks inside and wish we were staying.

Which meant–casually–carrying more stuff. Like food. And something to sleep in. And extra undies. Which was fine. Until we realized how much of that stuff was going on our backs. And just who was carrying it.

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This one was not carrying much.

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And the one on the right wasn’t either.

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And since no one was up for hefting four sleeping bags to the top, it quickly became believable that the kids could be warm in a blanket. Apiece. Like the ones they’re carrying on their backs.

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We were one mile up and one water bottle down by the time we stopped at this sign.

Just 3.7 miles to go.

Three point seven miles with a big, fat pack suddenly full of unnecessary items.

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Here’s takin’ a break 1.5 miles from the top.


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And here’s really taking a break.

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Then it’s more of this.

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A moment for this.

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And a roadside full of these.

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If we hadn’t turned around to encourage the kid with heavy feet, we might have missed the mountain slowly opening up behind us.

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Because you can’t see it walking this way.

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Not until you’ve rounded the last corner and have scrambled another half mile to the sign on the straight-up away. The sign you’d consider hugging, if you had anything left in you.

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But two hundred yards from the sign, we’re there. At High Hut. With the potty on the left, the hut on the right…

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And a massive mountain on the other side.

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This one. Sweet Rainier.

All of her. Right there.

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And there are words, but they all fall short.

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Words like ‘grace’ and ‘beauty’ and then somebody shouting, “look at the mountain!” As if we weren’t.

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Half a turn to the right and it’s this jagged Sawtooth Range.

But keep on twisting, and it’s Mt. Adams behind another closer peak, St. Helen’s wrapped in haze and range after range after range of mountains, each fading in color like the sunset.

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Back down the road a quarter mile…

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There are huckleberries. Ready and ripe. And so we pick, until bending over even without a pack feels like we might get stuck in that position.

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Another hand of UNO?


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Because it’s here.  With this backdrop. Which feels more real than unreal.

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And because it does something. This mountain.

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Or maybe it’s not the mountain at all, but the quiet surrounding the mountain that does something. Something that makes us feel like we belong here.

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And that the stuff and the noise an hour and a half away are just that. Stuff. And noise.

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In just hours, the sun begins to slip.

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And what was bathed in light folds into the shadows.


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Everything, in fact, is ready for bed.


But these two.

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I’d tell ya that I woke to see the sunrise, and maybe I did. But it sure felt like I was awake and waiting for the sunrise…

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After soothing this one back to sleep.

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But there it is, the morning light.

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And there they are–two kids with no memory of the night’s charades.

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Breakfast. With berries.

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A jaunt to the ridgeline…

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Which is right below the hut…

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To see Mt. Rainier wearing a cloudy sombrero.

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And then it’s home. For all of us. For the ones who slept. And for the ones who didn’t.

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For the ones who will walk the next day. And the ones who will walk…just barely.

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3 Responses to “The View from High Hut”

  1. Linda H says:

    Very nice Jeanne,

    Thanks for sharing, Linda

  2. Carolyn Moore says:

    Jeanne, I can’t believe the amazing affect this post has had on me. I wish I had the fortitude to make this treck but thank you for doing it in my place so that I could see the magesty of our mountain and imagine your each and every step, only pretending they are mine.

  3. Nikki C. says:

    Must go now – Gorgeous pics

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