Ranger-led Snowshoe at Mt. Tahoma/Rainier (February 2022)

On February 26, 2022, after much collaboration with Chris Young of Outdoor Asian – Washington, 12 Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Asian American Pacific Islanders (BIPOC AAPI) drove the scenic and windy roads to convene at the Paradise Visitor Center on Mt. Tahoma.

Waiting for us was our guide Ranger Darby and his colleague Ranger Paul. We got everybody geared up and after a land acknowledgement and introduction set out for our journey along the Nisqually Vista loop. We stopped intermittently along the way while Ranger Darby talked about the mountain, weather, snow, avalanches and the use of probes and shovel, biodiversity, fascinating stories about animals that call the mountain home, what animals we might see evidence of during Winter and what animals we wouldn’t see, how various animals live and survive in the Winter, a bit about glaciers, etc. Before we took our snowshoes off, everyone lined up and one by one we slid down a short hill on our tummies like otters. It was a brilliantly fun way to end this awesome and educational snowshoe.

Departing Paradise (literally and figuratively) we reconvened at the National Park Inn restaurant at Longmire to debrief over lunch and hot drinks. In our closing circle I learned some interesting things: this was the first snowshoe experience for nearly half of the attendees; only a few attendees had snowshoed six or more times; almost half had never been to Mr. Tahoma before. I asked why this was, what are the barriers. Transportation was the number one answer. The number two answer was cost. At least one attendee I know of so far purchased an America The Beautiful pass that day, and she’s already getting other POC excited to go snowshoeing and experience the majesty of Mt. Tahoma. On my nearly four-hour drive back home, I picked up the park map. It reads “Mount Rainier. Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.” I got a chill and my eyes welled with tears as I was overcome with gratitude to be a part of everyone’s experience today and that this fire mountain, in all her glory, and all the life that calls her Home, got to experience Us today. Oh yeah, THIS is what The Bronze Chapter is all about!

Mount Rainier
Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest

John muir

Gratitudes: Washington Trails Association. Chris Young/Outdoor Asian-Washington. Ranger Darby Robinson. Ranger Paul. NPS Superintendent Gregory Dudgeon. National Park Service. Justice Outside.