I messaged JT and Heidi on Thursday afternoon. By Friday evening we were on the road. After a 3-hour drive that took us on windy backcountry roads around Loowit (Mount Saint Helens) we arrived to our trailhead at 9pm. Maps were spread out and a plan was made.

4:15. That was the alarm. Enough time to get coffee, breakfast, and be on the trail by 5.

Headlamps on, a light, misty fog enveloped us as we began our climb out of the valley. By 5:45 we had pierced our way above the clouds and the sky was a light orange… 45-minutes until sunrise proper.

We hit the access point to our destination, a 2-mile long scrambley ridge, just as the sun was cresting the horizon.

A 2nd “breakfast” was consumed and fun was had. Pure joy among the goats, ravens, and wind. Sharp drops on each side… a slight prickle of danger… enough to keep us cautious.

We descended off the ridge and down to the “lakes loop” where we eagerly dove into the cool alpine waters.

Dripping shorts and soggy socks made their way back onto the trail where we were greeted with huckleberries by the thousands. Mandatory “huckleberry stops” were made.

After a quick water fill up, we completed the loop, said “thank you” and “goodbye” to the land we had enjoyed, and headed home.

Worth it.