Personal Narrative: The Park Butte Trail

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The terrain crested beyond the meadow and continued to zigzag through a thinning of trees hosting several nifty campsites. Since leaving the junction behind at the bottom of the meadow, I had been focusing my attention to the west in the direction of the Park Butte Trail. Below, a tarn sat in a slight valley at the bottom of a meadow and its contents undoubtedly were replenished by the rains as the snow long since melted out. Recognizing a peak in the distance that obviously could be Park Butte, I hoped to catch a glimpse of the trail and how it accessed the summit. While strolling between two campsites, a clearing within the scattered trees presented an opportunity to scan a distant ridge on the neighboring hillside. Eyes scanning in the same direction as my walk, I spotted a high square wooden structure approximately a mile away as a crow flies. There, erected on the peak stood the fire lookout on Park Butte. Ahead the Railroad Grade ridge could be seen slicing up right to left in the forefront of the massive Easton Glacier approximately a half mile away. Crossing a plateau, Tim led us by a few additional campsites and beyond to a ravine separating us and the ridge. The ravine would necessitate a moderate descent followed…show more content…
The trail crested over a hillside mound that revealed a familiar landscape. A short distance ahead in the foreground of the glacier’s edge, I could see a flat plateau where I once camped two nights with Tim, two International Mountain Guides and three other climbers back in August of 2012. The glacier, having a significantly greater ice surface at that time, extended lower down the mountain and snow covered mass areas at a lower elevation. In fact, sections of the trail below the ridge were covered with snow. Today, however, the camp area had no trace of snow, only ice on the glacier. Even the glacier’s edge appeared a greater distance away from the camp

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