My alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. I woke up surprisingly easily consider I only had 3 to 4 hours of actual sleep. I got up, scrambled around to get the last of my shit together. Put on my hiking clothes: wicking underwear, shirt, fleece pants, sock liners, and SmartWool socks. Pulled the sausage from the fridge and tossed it in my backpack. Fed the cat.
Then my crisis. I couldn't find my wallet. I can misplace anything, including a wallet the size of Texas. I went down to my car, but it wasn't there. I came back up. It was 5 a.m., the time I was supposed to pick up Christian. So I gave him a quick call to let him know I was running late. Scrambled around the apartment looking for my wallet. Not on my desk. Not in my coat. Not in the freezer (yes, I checked there). Dug through the hamper (otherwise known as the floor of my closet). I couldn't find it anywhere.
I finally decided just to take my backpack to the car and go. I hoped I wouldn't get pulled over or need it to enter Rainier National Park (map 2 MB - but a good one). I threw my backpack in the back seat (my trunk has my snow tires in it, cause I have no place to keep them). But when I opened the front door to climb in and go, I spotted my wallet in the pocket on the door. I had everything.
Christian lives on Second Avenue in Belltown. I drove down Second looking for the address or cross street he gave me. At 5:15 in the morning, the rich and famous are not the people staggering down Second. I half expected someone to approach my car to sell me crack every time I slowed down to peer at an address. Christian made it easy for me though. He was waiting at the curb. He threw his backpack in the back seat and climbed in. I noticed he had ski poles, and I had my first inkling that maybe I had forgotten something. Of course, ski poles were not on the list of equipment that Eddie said we needed for this trip.
The drive to the trail head at the White River Campground was quite pleasant. I hadn't had the chance to talk with Christian much. He's from Germany, and only lived here for about a year, although he went to college in Virginia. His English is much better than my German, although that is to be expected. He is also a software developer.
We arrived at the White River Campground around 7 a.m. Our designated time to be there was 8 a.m. Brendan was waiting in the parking lot. I expected Chuck to be there already as well, as he had told me that he liked to arrive early. We spotted Eddie's truck, but not Eddie. At least we thought it was Eddie's truck.
Over the next hour, the rest of the party arrived. William, the assistant instructor pulled up shortly after we did. Then Eddie crawled out of the back of his truck. It was his truck after all; he had driven down the night before and slept in the back. As had Sarah. Sarah is a federal prosecutor, pretty good looking and a smart-ass to boot. Unfortunately, she had a ring on, which I haven't ever seen her wear before. She was tenting with Eddie. Then Leslie and Cory arrived. Leslie lives on Vashon, so we expected her to be last to arrive due to the vagaries of the Point Defiance run of the Washington State Ferries. Cory lives in Tacoma and Leslie picked her up. Finally, Chuck, my tent-mate arrived.
We spent some time making sure our packs were in order. For a few minutes I couldn't find my shell. As I have stated many times before, I can misplace anything. I pulled apart my pack. It wasn't in the main compartment. It wasn't in the compartment on the left side, or the top. I freaked. I told Eddie I might have a problem. He got a "Why me?" look on his face. However, when I finally opened the right compartment, it was there. I forgot that it packed up pretty small and I didn't think it would fit in the right compartment with the other stuff that was there.
The shell scare over, I got the tent from Cory. Chuck and I were borrowing her spare tent, as she intended on sharing Leslie's. Christian had planned on using his single man tent, but since Brendan did not have a partner, he unloaded his into the back seat and they redistributed the weight among themselves.
We were all ready to go, but we were missing two people. Eddie told us that Alfred had dropped out of the class. He expected it was because Alfred realized how expensive this was going to be when he started purchasing equipment. But a more surprising missing element was Erik. Although the quiet one of the group, he had been pretty good about showing up before. There was no sign of him, so William put his tent in his car, and decided to share Leslie's tent with the two women, as it was officially a 3 person tent.
All gear ready, we pulled on our backpacks, and headed up to Glacier Basin around 9 a.m.
Next entry, Ascent (Saturday morning)