I don’t think much about pack weight, other than how heavy mine is next to Ben’s. We’re more or less the same size, same fitness, same grit, so he takes the tent and I take the stove, rope, first aid. Not much first aid. I leave the splint and tourniquet and stock up on ibuprofen and caffeine instead. Seventeen miles in, seventeen miles out, with an alpine start somewhere along the way. Quick trip. Light packs. We take the window covers down around 8 a.m. and let the sunlight get us moving. Full parking lot. One car rolling in, like we would have done if we had left Seattle before dawn instead of driving through the night. I don’t mind an early morning, but I wanted to start this one fresh.

Ben takes a caffeine pill, I hang our permit from the rearview mirror, and we grab a few leftover cookies from the driver’s seat. We wake up five miles later when the trail turns uphill.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!