2/22/10, 2AM, Day 3: Morning comes sooner than expected. At 2AM rain starts to fall. At 4:15AM sleet begins to accumulate. By 6AM our tent domes sag thanks to a fresh 5 inches of sleet and snow. Thanks weatherman. Any hope of following tracks are gone. The 3 feet of snow is now 3 and a half feet. Looks like we are going to have to posthole our way down the mountain. I’m not sure about you, but when I have to lift my leg to my ear 400 hundred times in a row, I get tired. Eventually we find a clearing. Clouds settle in bringing visibility down to about 10 feet. Compass says we need to go up the mountain through all the rhododendrons. Seriously, who’s in charge of landscaping around here? We melt snow to fill our bottles and bladders, and use the surplus for a cup of coffee.
The pu-pu platter of whiteout, waist-deep snow, and bobcat tracks make choosing the correct path difficult. We choose a path that takes us through rhododendrons (a.k.a. the vineys) for a good quarter mile.