A night in a Snow Cave on Mt. Rainier on New Year's day

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Welcoming 2013 from our snow cave on Mt. Rainier

Jen and I don’t really attach much significance to days like New Years day. However, why pass on a nice extended weekend to get out and have some fun? We decided to go snow camping on Mt. Rainier. We had been to Mt. Rainier many times before but had never camped overnight, and never really built a snow cave. Got a lot of help from my good friend Brad, who helped me figure out what supplies I would need and how to use them. Also did a lot of research online on tips on building snow caves. Mt. Rainier is one of the snowiest places on earth and the hike to Camp Muir is one of the 10 most deadliest ones in the US. So I also went through all the incidents of fatalities and emergencies on Mt. Rainier over the last 30 years. Almost all involved bad luck and many were made worse because the victims and survivors hadn’t been planning on staying there long but were forced to due to bad weather. Since we had enough supplies

On top of Mt. Kilimanjaro

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We took a longer, circuitous, beautiful path around Kilimanjaro to get to the top. It was colder than we had planned for and the lack of sleep compounded the effort needed. The endless strong wind that ran across the continent became very overbearing after a few hours. But we were there and we saw the glaciers on the roof of Africa. We started the final ascent on the day of our 4th year anniversary.

Hiking to Camp Muir at Mt. Rainier using 5 finger shoes

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We hiked up to Camp Muir yesterday which is at an elevation of 10,080ft. Starting at Paradise it’s a 4,700 ft climb that happens over 5.5 miles. The last 2-3 miles is just a vast snow-field and traversing up that is a chore. Good boots help but we use 5 finger shoes which don’t do too well on the snow.

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Solution: we used micro-spikes and attached them to the 5 finger shoes and they work really well! Except, the 5 finger shoes don’t have much insulation or water protection and the toes start getting cold 🙁 Make sure you wear socks and have more at hand in case they get wet.

Camp Muir Hike Path

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichhu

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We had been planning a trip to Peru for a while and wanted to visit Machu Pichhu. When we learned that you could hike there instead of taking a train we decided that’s what we wanted to do. Recent regulations limit the number of people who can be on the trail to just 500 a day. We quickly found that we had to book the hike way in advance. It is also now required that the hike has to be booked through a local company that is licensed to operate on the trail. There are a few hundred companies to choose from. We reviewed many and finally decided to go with Llama Path. So we made our reservation in Jan 2011 for a hike in May 2011.

We had never done a 4 day hike before and realized we would have some prep to do. A couple of months of training, backpacks, hiking poles, shoes etc later we were finally ready for it.

Day 1 12km

We were picked up from Regocijo Square at 5:00am. We didn’t get much sleep the night before because we were busy packing and preparing for it. The idea was to sleep on the way. Two of our porters were waiting for us at the square while the bus had gone to our hotel to look for us because we were late (oops). It was dark and cold and finally the bus arrived. It had the other porters inside and our camping supplies. We couldn’t see their faces well and we were too tired – so we fell asleep.

We were driving through a gorgeous landscape when my eyes opened. The porters were gone – they had stopped to get started on preparing stuff for the hike. We stopped at Ollantaytambo for breakfast. We were the only people at this touristico restaurant which was pretty huge. Buffet included slices of ham, cheese, bread and fruit juices. And egg. It was good.