Muir, October 21, 2006
October already, and the huge dumps of snow we'd been hoping for had not materialized. Michael really wanted to keep his streak going, as he feared it wouldn't happen if they moved back to Europe, so we loaded up the car (actually two cars) and headed to Paradise with Corinne, Luca and Magali.
The weather was perfect - clear and cool, with a persistent breeze. In fact, it was a little on the cold side, and I ended up wearing my down coat all day. The visibility was incredible, with clear shots of the southern volcanoes all the way into Oregon. Michael and I were in the lead car, and headed up from the parking lot at a none-too-early 11:45, while Corinne and Luca wandered around the Alta Vista area. Magali jogged up without skis and caught us just before Pebble Creek.
We stopped and chatted for a while with Rick, Patrizia and Marco who had already lapped the first convenient snowfield and were headed down, then continued up to skinnable snow. Magali decided that following us in running shoes wasn't that much fun and headed down, where she was lucky enough to see a mother bear and her cubs foraging for berries just below Alta Vista!
Michael and I decided we needed exercise and continued up to Muir, where we caught St. Helens in a moment of anger, tossing out a good-sized black cloud of dust. There may have been some seismic activity going on, as we also witnessed four large serac falls on the Nisqually during the day (check out the white cloud behind Michael in photo # 24, above row far right). We found shelter from the wind under one of the out buildings at Muir where the temp was perfect, and enjoyed some bread and cheese before skiing down.
The snow was actually good for the most part, smooth corn and some fresh soft-crusted new snow over glacial sandpaper, and we made relaxed GS turns all the way down to the usual spot just above Pebble Creek with two de-skis. Then it was off to dinner at the Longmire Inn, where we ate in turns while watching Luca jog around the hotel!