Enchanting Windstorm - Clayton Getsinger

Enchanting Windstorm

My friend is a research biologist and has a serious love for plant life. Although he might not always admit it - he definitely loves this stuff. He's also from a city nearby the beautiful Cascades and attempts each year to score permits to this amazing place during peak Larch season. Timing it just right to catch the special yellow trees show off their colors can be tricky. Mountain weather in October is often unpredictable. This year, he was lucky enough to get permits to this area during peak Western Larch season, and theoretically before the weather turned too bad. Thankfully, he's a great friend and immediately offered me to join on his permit space.

Unfortunately for us, as we watched the weather we saw a windstorm warning for the exact days of our three day permit access window. Of course, this couldn't stop us and our friends from capitalizing on a rare permit opportunity. We opted to cross our fingers and lace up our boots (not at the same time). 

Luckily, for the first afternoon and evening hike the weather seemed to cooperate. Thank goodness it did. A snow and ice filled scramble up 2000 ft of elevation in under a mile would certainly not be any more fun with wind and rain. Once we reached the top, we were feeling pretty good and excited to meet our hiking partners at camp. 

We arrived in the dark and promptly set up our tent. We anchored the tent with many, many large piles of heavy rocks and guidelines. We then ate some dinner and played some cards. While the tent flapped and the wind howled around us we figured we would cross our fingers once again and lay our heads down. 

This was a mistake. We couldn't fall asleep as the wind slammed into our tent. A guideline snapped and the tent poles began bending (breaking) inward. We knew our tent was clearly not going to make it. We looked at our watches and noticed we hadn't slept at all - the night hadn't even begun. We knew there was no choice but to pack up and hike for cover. 

After hiking for a few hours through the night we found a rare tree and boulder sheltered area. We hastily made camp and fell asleep. A rough night of sleep gave way to a rainy and windy morning. We took it slow and hoped for a clearing. With time running short to finish our 11 mile descent for the day, we decided to pack up despite high winds and thick rains. As we hiked, the rain pierced through our squinty eyes and blocked many views.  At times it was impossible to standup since the gusts were coming at us so fiercely. 

Luckily, the camera didn't mind the wind and rain as much as we did. I was able to get some awesome photos and we had a great trip. As you'll see, the weather even let up and we managed to dry off as we hiked out and dropped elevation.

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