Mt. Rainier Cornucopia

my destination comes into view on the bike to ParadiseA corny title for a corny day. A perfect weather and conditions forecast had me at my stomping ground, Mt. Rainier National Park. A note to prospective visitors, try to arrive early before the construction begins (weekdays); the stretch between the Nisqually entrance and Longmire is a mess, and we waited in line on the way out once for over 20 minutes. This was a hybrid day for me, including biking, hiking, skinning and skiing. I started at Longmire (2800') on my bike and enjoyed minimal traffic and perfect temps for the climb to Paradise (5400'). My buddy Craig drove my vehicle up to Paradise after dropping me off and get a head start on the climb towards Camp Muir. After the swap of bike gear for ski gear, I started the skinning right at the parking lot at Paradise, so still plenty of snow. My legs were still good at the bottom of Panorama Point and I decided to continue skinning up this steep section. Alas, on my third turn about 2/3 of the way up I caught an edge on my right ski (I guess I didn't lock it all the way down) and watched it slide straight down the hill to the bottom. No leash and the brakes are up while skinning, so chuckling (I wanted a workout, right?) I booted back down the slope and regained my errant ski. From this point I decided to boot straight up the slope with the skis on my pack and continued in this fashion until I reached the top of a few steep rises above Panorama Point (@6500'). The skins came back on and I was starting to feel it in the legs, so by the time I caught up with Craig I was up for a break. Enjoying expansive views in all directions, we finally got to skinning up the Muir snowfield until we reached 8300', deciding that the extra climb on the gentle grade to Anvil Rock was not warranted and we wanted to catch the corn when the snow was prime. Craig and I have had a few outings with the ski touring gear and the last few were not particularly successful, including a turn back on Mt. St. Helens before we even took the skis off our packs due to Craig having severe cramps. What a pleasure to enjoy the mostly gentle slopes of the Muir snowfield on perfect corn, not having to suffer through grabby slop like the last time. The weather, the views, and conditions, the doesn't get any better than this when you earn your turns. Of course, I had to try some video and captured most of the descent on a ski mounted helmet cam. Check it out if you want to see a ski's view of the trip down to the parking lot.