With last year’s thinly blanketed winter in our rear view mirror and heavy with baited anticipation for a luxurious winter ahead, the ladies of the pacific northwest decided to take matters into their own hands. In an effort to honor Ullr, the presumed Norse God of Snow (a deduction from his traditional depiction wearing skis) and hopefully earn enough favor to be blessed with blankets of snowy fluff, SheJumps Pacific Coast headed into the mountains. Our virile baker’s dozen gathered at the base of Crystal Mountain Ski Resort. Our November 7th and 8th weather report called for a mix of rain, snow, clouds, bluebird, and a heavy chance of participation in revelry and snownanigans. We made our way through ski resort and into the surrounding forest. Local trails bring you in and around the resort connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail but due to conditions we decided to call it at Henskin Lake.
Lead by Pacific Coast Ambassador Erin Melton and Wild Skills Director Christy Pelland, the group loaded up their packs ranging from 30 to 60 pounds and departed through the base of the ski slope up the Silver Creek/Pacific Crest Trail to Henskin Lake. A few resident Vikings showed up to really show Ullr we were committed to the cause. As the group ascended, a light friendly pacific northwest drizzle slowly turned into the beautiful almost sound of falling snowflakes; the lightest winter whisper that only the true outdoors lover can hear- like the magic bell in the Polar Express but with less trains, slightly more waterproof pajamas…and preferably the same amount of Tom Hanks…
Anyway, into the old growth forest we climbed, until streambeds turned to slush until we crested the final push and entered a snow covered meadow that turned into an alpine lake. With a little exploring, the group found a beautiful clearing at the edge of Henskin Lake and began to set up camp. Our small tent community erupted and little woodland elves got to work finding downed limbs for our campfire. Resident campfire wizard and apple muffin baker extraordinaire Gina Van Loon got to work with her magic fire making paste and killer girl scout skills crafting the perfect timber tower to keep us warm. We collected the most amazing amount of firewood, enough to roast our chilly hands AND make a couch made out of brush. Speaking of wild skills, enter Christy Pelland, stage left, carrying a full on log, that made for both a first rate seat and a dearth of fire fuel.
With some seasoned pros and some first time backpackers, we had a wonderful span of experience to share and learn from each other. As SheJumpers, we value the magic that comes from spending time with strong, inspirational women and being the puzzle piece that complements one woman while she shares her experience, help, thoughts, friendship, or knowledge in areas of your growth. In true keeping with life mirroring art, or heart in this case, some packed extra warm clothes to share for those who might need it, others packed extra treats, and some blazed in with a heaping king size package of hand and toe warmers for everyone to love. A wonderful reminder that we can warm others with our personal gifts of self and our light…and sometimes with hand warmers.
The penumbral breeze died down to a chilly and calm night, nestled under the fir trees to a healthy crackling fire. Our meals took a family style turn as we took turns sharing exquisite artisanal cheeses, pasta, coffee, jerky, and locally made Seattle chocolates. Snugged in overnight, we awoke to a beautiful, fresh inch of snow a hints of blue peeking through the sky.
With dreams of brunch dancing through our heads, we packed up camp and perched our bags against the nearest frosty tree to start the morning off right with some snow salutations. With modified yoga to account for all the puffy layers and mitten dryness preservation, we snowflake fingers lifted our arms to honor our weekend home with a Mountain Pose and folded on an exhale into a crouch and curl, or snowball pose, if you will. A couple rounds of salutations and the rosy in our cheeks and roasty in our mittens pointed us downhill and back to society. Our descent took the group on a new, untrodden route back to the trail with views of powder covered knolls and tiny, dexteritous footprints sprinkling either side of our path. A lone black fox with its bushy white tail, ruining his attempt at looking nefarious in favor of whimsical was our final guide down to the parking lot.
One might have been sad our winter wonderland trip was over but wait! Prizes! Therm-a-Rest generously donated one of their women’s Mira sleeping bags and some sweet, cozy t shirts to some lucky SheJumps adventurous winners! Kara Boldt’s name was picked out of the official prize winner beanie and she was jubilant at the idea of snug nights in and out of her house in her new cozy cocoon. It seems that she couldn’t wait to give it a whirl in her living room.
We ended our adventure with all the elements that any Nordic deity could appreciate- coffee, hot cocoa, beer, and hearty food from nearby pub, The Mint, properly ending the weekend with hearts and smiles as full as our bellies; of course, it wouldn’t be a true Pacific Northwest outing without a volcano eruption…of a chocolate fudge molten lava cake, that is.
Erin Melton, 11/17/2015
Picture Credit: Erin Melton and Christy Pelland
Big Thanks to our local sponsor for the support!