For a combination of reasons, I barely slept. I was cold for starters; the temperature below freezing. And the wind, a light but constant menace with an unexpected dessert-like warmth. Still I was chilled and shivering to the bone. Patches of snow lay around me, though the ridge that is Longs Pass is mostly barren rock.
My attempts to warm (by burrowing deeper into my bivy and sleeping bag) would end with a gasp for fresh air. So there you have it, I was stuck between asphyxiation and bone chilling cold. Well asphyxiation is a bit dramatic, but this is my blog not yours.
The waning moon rose much later than I anticipated, which made for an exquisite display of the Milky Way. It was straight above me for many hours, beckoning me to absorb it as often as possible. In fact, I wanted to eat the entire sky and wash it down with a cup of coffee.
To my north rose the jagged rocky majestic peak known as Mount Stuart, marking the south edge of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The moon now high in the sky opaquely lit it up, while the ever present Big Dipper circled out from behind it. To my south the waning glow of the sun, lasting well into the late evening, silhouetted the mountains surrounding the Teanaway drainage. Mount Rainier included. I was surprised to see it from this vantage but of course very pleased. So like I said I wanted to eat the entire sky.
Adding to all this excitement and beauty and discomfort I would brave the elements, leaving my cocoon to adjust my camera or make sure it was still capturing whatever scene I deemed most important to capture. I would lazily boot up with stubborn numb fingers, scanning the sky and skyline for the perfect shot.