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Sierra Club Bulletin, 1910-19

Sierra Club Bulletin, Vol. 9, No. 3, June 1913, p. 81 - Nettleton, Lulie, "The Mountaineers winter out on Mount Rainier"

This is a fine account of the Tacoma Mountaineers' first winter outing to Longmire at Mt Rainier in 1912-13. The author notes that, "Since snow, fluffy, exhilarating, real snow does not come to Seattle, Seattleites must seek the snow. Consequently it has become the annual custom for the Mountaineers to go back to the hills and spend New Year's enjoying winter sports usually confined to colder lands."

The author notes the scarcity of equipment and clothing suitable for snow in the Seattle area: "Since the average resident of this mild climate is not equipped for deep snow, the sudden demand for cold-weather articles had caused a rush upon Alaskan outfitters, and calls upon friends from colder regions. Consequently the equipment was almost international in character--German socks, Swedish stockings, Alaskan mukluks, Canadian and Alaskan snowshoes, and Norwegian skis."

She describes the trip from Seattle to Longmire and the scene on a snowshoe hike two days later: "We shall always remember the transformation worked by the snow on the vegetation of this perfectly normal Washington forest. Fallen stumps and twisted branches were changed to white monsters, sea-serpents, and shapes of prehistoric creatures, with here and there a white robed nun to give us confidence. The trail was blind because the snow-drifts came above the blazes on the trees."

On December 31, the author and several others snowshoed to Paradise during a wind storm: "The road to Paradise was a long one, truly, but by one o'clock we had reached our goal and stood spellbound in an unreal world. The rustic bridges were barely visible above the white, the roof of a ranger's cabin showed above a drift. Paradise Valley is charming as a home of mountain flowers and exquisite verdure, but as we saw it, robed in a mantle of snow a score of feet in depth, it attained a dignity and majesty that will make it stand alone in the gallery of mountain memories."

The party returned to the city on January 1, finding many wind-fallen trees on the road to Ashford. The author writes: "Arrived in civilization, we learned for the first time, from harrowing press reports, that our whole company had been lost in the wilderness; heard of our hairbreadth escapes from avalanches, and of suggested search parties. But our radiant faces proved beyond a doubt that we were living, breathing devotees at the shrine of Rainier, not frozen offerings to the mountain that was God."

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