Snowshoeing Mt. Rainier
Fresh snow crunches under your feet. Along the trail, paw prints of a small forest creature lead the way. The sun shines. You take a break to drink tea from your thermos and slice of a piece of brie cheese that’s your one gourmet indulgence in the backcountry. You continue along, excited about the prospect of an evening in front of a warm stove in a cozy ski hut. You contemplate to yourself how a winter trip doesn’t get much better than this.
Earlier this winter I was craving some snow time, and decided to check out the Mount Tahoma Trails Association hut-to-hut ski trail system, a collection of groomed trails used by the Forest Service in the summer and snowshoers and cross country skiers in the winter. A common obstacle to pursuing winter backcountry adventures is of course that it’s cold and gets dark early, not the optimal tent conditions for most. Fortunately the MTTA maintains several different backcountry accommodations, including a yurt, all complete with propane stoves, sleeping pads and complete kitchens. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it ‘glamping,’ but high end backcountry digs is certainly a fitting definition.
The last morning the High Hut, one of the most popular overnight spots, was graced with a beautiful sunrise, hues of pink, orange and purple filling the winter horizon. Definitely the “it doesn’t get any better than this” moment.
Want to check out the hut-to-hut system yourself? Visit skimtta.com for more information as well as a reservation page. Prices are very reasonable and the trip is certainly one you’ll want to add to your next selection of winter journeys. While you’re at it, help the MTTA rebuild one of their huts that burned down in 2008 by donating here; every dollar helps!