Mt. Fremont Lookout
Spring Quarter finally came to end this past Friday at 8:20 pm as I finished my organic chemistry lab final. Yep, the very last final of the school year. Luckily, I had a hike with the SQUAD to look forward too. Since this would be our last hike together for a few months, we decided to be ambitious and go for a sunrise hike in Mt. Rainier National Park. We settled upon Mt. Fremont Lookout, an old fire tower used to monitor the area for wildfires.
The plan was to hit the road at 2 am, and watch the sunrise at the lookout and as we hiked. With 4 hours of sleep (some of us with MUCH less) we were all in the car, loopy and laughing, yelling about avocados and radio stations. We breezed through small towns in the dark and even came across a deer on the road.
When we arrived, we could see the silhouette of Mt. Rainier looming in the distance and feel the 40 degree weather. It was brisk; so we hurried up the trail to warm up.
As we started to ascend, the sun was already beginning to peek out and the sky began to change to reds, oranges, and blues.
Everyone was in awe. This is Crystal admiring the start of the sunrise.
Sharon capturing the spectacle.
Hunter caught in action.
The hike was very scenic....
...especially with Mt. Rainier just off in the distance. With this, we trudged on.
At this point, the sunrise was in full swing and turned Mt. Rainier pink and purple, a true wonder.
For some reason, this trail just kept going up and up even though it was only an 800 foot elevation gain. Needless to say, we're way out of shape. But I'm going to put it out there that we were at elevation, so that wasn't helping us out.
Also, this looks like a The North Face ad. North Face, if you ever read this, hit me up with a sponsorship.
"I feel like we're in Mongolia" as Hunter noted.
Off in the distance, we could see the outline of the lookout. (It's that little dot on the hillside in the middle of the picture.)
We were on the homestretch!
Even some of the wildflowers were starting to bloom!
As we neared the lookout, we encountered SNOW! I haven't seen snow in a long time, so this was refreshing. It was as if we were on a glacier.
This is one of my favorite photos since it does some justice to the grandeur of the hike.
Finally, we reached our destination.
Polly climbing up to see the view.
Aaron and Sharon catching up to us.
Hunter taking pictures through the windows.
It was breathtaking. And very, very windy. There may or may not have been complaining/screaming about how cold it was....
We did bring out the Keep Exploring flag for a photo-op! Crystal is using everyone else as a wind block and Hunter and I almost got blown backwards from a gust of wind while taking this picture. It was WINDY.
Brought up a birthday gift from Maddie! The patch says "The Great Northwest". Photo credit to Hunter.
We snacked and chatted while we braved the cold. And when it became unbearable, we quickly grabbed our things and hustled down the trail to the car.
We tried to stop by the visitor center to get some more information about other hikes in the area, but they were still closed for the season. At least there were these cool log cabins!
Unfortunately the lodge was closed too. It still served as a great model for photos though.
It was the best start to summer and a great way to end the year with some of my closest friends. We've got a lot more adventures coming in the fall!