Camp Muir and Bec
Words by: Kat Parks
Photos by: Cayman Waughtel and Kat parks
“Some people meet the way the sky meets the earth, inevitably, and there is no stopping or holding back their love. It exists in a finished world, beyond the reach of common sense.” Louise Erdrich, Tales of Burning
Realizing that I hadn’t yet mourned the loss of my Sister moving away and being flooded with barrages of overwhelming emotions finally hit me this last weekend. Becca and I met a few years ago but the truth is that she has known me always for our past lives are deeply intertwined and our shared magick is ancient. Due to Covid and many life changes for each of us, we weren’t connecting on the same level after she moved and several months in of not being in close proximity, our hearts began yearning for one another and we were able to quickly rekindle our Sisterhood and the relationship we hold so dear. Aside from when Becca was on trail, we have not missed a day of texting since January and we chat on the phone almost daily. With our planned backpacking trip approaching in June, we began talking through how much we were missing each other and decided that June was too far away and seeing each other sooner was a top priority.
Although any time spent together is perfect, we wanted to ski so with fingers crossed and legs ready, we hoped for good weather on Muir this week. The two days leading up to her arrival were pure agony. I found myself becoming more and more emotional as the day grew closer and Monday’s work day was nearly unbearable. Hugging her in the parking lot of our apartment complex, feeling her vibrations, hearing her voice in my ear was the most beautifully intimate reconnection. We made dinner, laughed, cried, kept hugging, and talked A LOT. Cayman volunteered to sleep in the living room so we could have the bed. We slept skin-on-skin all night and the next morning I made us coffee in bed. In between sips, Becca said, “Dude, I think we were doing witchcraft together in our sleep last night!” And we had been. We created a giant energy orb over ourselves that carried our majick across state lines to skiers and riders everywhere.
As we drove towards Rainier and saw clear skies in every direction, we knew the day was going to be the very best. Becca and I have never properly toured together and although we knew deep down that we would crush being backcountry partners, we both acknowledged that thoughts of apprehension had crossed our minds. It became clear early on that communication would not be an issue for us because we remembered each other’s processes in the backcountry and easily slipped into a partnership that resembled that of people who had been ski touring for years together.
Pan Face was spicy as fuck and all three of us ended up boot packing the last bit because even ski crampons weren’t cutting it. With Tahoma beckoning us, we wound our way up the snowfield, stopping for short breaks a few times on the way up. We made friends with a trio of climbers and made them stop for pictures and giggles.
On our last break, Becca and I checked in with Cayman about making the final push without waiting for him and if he was ok seeing us at Muir. Our bodies skinned in tandem, leap frogging leader whenever it felt right. With sights set in the direction of Muir and legs in rhythm, I heard a rumble and looked over to see icefall from a sérac pop and watched a plume of snow, ice and rock careen down the mountain in an impressive display that stopped every single person heading up in their tracks. We continued skinning but the mountain was not finished and we watched a second release of debris. Becca leap frogged me one last time and I could tell by the way she was skinning that she was gone. We were both fast and we crushed but I watched in awe of my dear friend’s strength and ease as she floated into Camp Muir ahead of me like she owned every inch of the snowfield that she had just skinned up.
We sat on the edge of the platform looking out at Pahto, Wy’east, and Loowit. We hugged and ate our snacks and laughed and reveled. We soaked up every second while patiently awaiting for the moment when we would be able to put in 4550’ of ski turns together.
Our turns were an absolute dream. I dropped first and Becca was right behind me and our skis cut through the white butter with ease and ferocity. The three of us party lapped for thousands of feet — each with different styles/ways of sliding, but all absolutely cheesing with joy. I had many thoughts on the ski back to the car and they all had to do with my beautiful Sister and our time together.
She is the Sun Goddess to my Moon Goddess. She is my missing part. My inspiration. My confidant. The Queen sitting on the throne next to me. The woman I’ve always dreamed of being and the woman I already am.