artist point for spring solstice
When I realized my friend Megan - not talking about myself here, her name is also Megan - had never been winter camping before and we both had the same two days off in March, plus a beautiful weather window, I decided to organize a little winter adventure for the two of us - at the same place that I did my first solo winter overnighter. I knew it would be a fairly easy snowshoe and the views were just incredible. Because of these two factors, I knew it would be a busy spot, especially on two beautifully sunny days in March.
When we arrived to the parking lot, we were happily surprised to see it was almost empty. The sun was beating down and within 5 minutes of snowshoeing, we stopped to strip down to t-shirts. After another 20 minutes, Megan decided to change into shorts. Snowshoeing in shorts and a tshirt, what a girl.
We set up camp in a primo spot, with Shuksan right in front of us and the viewpoint of Baker 2 minutes away. I dug out a little kitchen/dining area - a great pro to camping in the snow - and showed Megan some helpful tips for digging out a tent spot. With the sun still high in the sky and a lot of time left before sunset, we set up our sleeping pads and had a little read-aloud session from Megan’s book and a nap (on my part) in the sunshine.
After consuming a massive bag of trail mix while lying semi-comatose on my sleeping pad, we decided to walk up to the viewpoint to catch the sunset. There were a handful of people up there as well, which was nice to have some company, and they informed us that it was the spring solstice and the moon was going to rise up beside Shuksan any minute now. They assumed we had camped up here specifically for that. It seems the stars - or rather, the moon - had really lined up for us on this trip.
We all watched the sun creep down behind Baker and then turned around and watched the moon peek out over Shuksan’s shoulder.
Just when I thought the show was over, the stars started to come out and while Megan was in the tent, getting cozy for the night, I was out freezing my hands off, trying to capture the stars and our little tent. That gorgeous full solstice moon lit up the snow around me and for once, I actually enjoyed shooting the stars with a full moon out.
It was a bit of a chilly evening, despite it being (officially) the first few hours of Spring, and Megan’s pad kept deflating throughout the night. Lesson number one for winter camping - make sure you’ve got a bomber sleep system.
We woke up for sunrise and decided to do a quick little shoot at the lookout while no one else was around. Of course, we wore our best fleecey pants and really worked it for the camera.
All in all, it was the perfect combination of amazing conditions, great company, an easy trail, and a full moon to really knock your socks off. Sometimes everything just lines up nicely and a weekend like this happens.