|the view from Mazama Ridge|
I had chosen transport vehicles well, I realized, as we were standing at Paradise, 5,000' waiting for the third car to arrive. Trips to the restrooms, lending a hand to skiers who had a slight equipment snafu and standing around chatting helped pass the time in the 25-degree weather. But still no third car. Cell phones were useless in the Park, as there was no reception, so we hearkened back to the old days when we had to guess what happened to the lost party members. Finally, at 11am – nearly an hour after we first arrived, we decided to proceed with our trip to Reflection Lakes, assuming there was some difficulty at the gate below.
|Tatoosh Range from Paradise|
There was a crust on the snow, but at least there was snow. It was a beautiful day with high clouds which allowed for good views to the south of the Tatoosh Range and at the mountain herself, to the north. We made our way up to Mazama Ridge, zig-zagging to moderate the grade, though I still felt a familiar burn in my legs. We attained the ridge and had an even better view of the Tatoosh Range and the foothills beyond, plus we ran into a few parties who were spending the night up there – what a treat!
|please don't feed the birds!|
Unlike many other trips, where you slave uphill for hours, eat lunch and then frolic downhill and return to the trailhead, this particular trip requires some effort after lunch to make it back up to Paradise. Our leaders chose a packed, marked trail to make the way easier for us (and for them, as they broke the majority of the trail on the way up). To me, it took the joy out of the journey, but also saved me some energy, which I was dearly lacking by that point in the trip. We returned to the parking lot at Paradise, just as lovely as it had been earlier, though with more people and cars and prepared for our journey down the mountain and out past the gate.
|Castle and Pinnacle Peaks from lunch|