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the Backpacking romance dies a little
This will be extra verbose for one of my blogs, my apologies in advance. I didn’t take many pictures of this part of the event, I would say it was one of the last things on my mind, to take pictures.
So, we leave early Tuesday morning to get to our trail head on time to hike up to the cabin. The area where we are going uses mostly old logging roads, and some current mining roads to get to the trail heads. The signage is terrible and finding where we needed to be took us an extra 2.5 hours in wrong turns and bumpy roads. Our poor little PT cruiser. On this sojourn we actually ran into and talked to the ranger on duty for the area and he kindly told us to not stop at the sign for the trail head but that they’ve made the hiker’s trail head higher so the hike would only be 8 km instead of 12 km.
Jeremy said to the ranger, “awesome, maybe we’ll actually make it up there tonight since we’re running late” to which the ranger changed the subject.
This happened a few times on the 3.6 up to the new trail head, making our starting time even later:
Fortunately, Jeremy had brought a saw. Weirdly enough, he’s always prepared like that.
At the trail head (how many times can I use the words trail head?) we get ready, making sure everything is right and tight with our packs. I am concerned with the weight of Jeremy’s pack, but say little. He has already said that since it’s a one way trip (to the cabin, and then we were going to stay there 6 or so nights and eat a whole bunch to make our packs lighter on the way back) so it would be okay.
The sky looks ominous.
We are in the middle of nowhere.
Within the first km we get soaked, no time to get our rain gear out, it just dumped on us like a bucket of water. We got our rain gear out anyway and put it on. At which point we got hailed upon. Also, we didn’t account for the extra weight of everything being soaking wet. Add 10 pounds each.
We hop over our first creek crossing successfully.
And then the next:
It’s up to Jeremy’s thighs. We decide to go for it. He crossed it a total of 8 times with both the deeper crossings, ferrying everyone’s pack back and forth and helping each of us. The water was so strong! He carried PJ across and helped Kate and I. I would have just gotten pushed over and carried away; the stream was so strong.
Then we came to a spot where the trail was completely obliterated by a winter avalanche, covered in trees and still piles of snow. We picked our way across it and get to the next creek crossing, at which point I try not to cry.
I knew there would have to be at least one more after this one since this 3rd major crossing would bring us to the wrong side of the creek. Who knows how many more? Besides, this one looked scarier than the other two. And it’s getting later and later and darker and darker.
Jeremy tests the depth of the water. It would be above his waist. We have seen NO where to camp on the trail. Our only choice is to turn back. Me, still trying not to cry and scare the kids. We need to get back out and back to our car before total darkness sets in. After convincing PJ that this is our only choice, the kids, like the total awesome troopers that they are, dig in and really do awesome hiking back!
Jeremy tells me later that while there was no bear sign (tracks, poop) on the way there, on the way back he saw tracks and poop right on the trail we had traveled. So he started shouting out “WOOO” to which we would answer “PONG” and we played very loud games of “I spy” on the way back to the car.
It was mostly like this:
Our packs were extra heavy from being wet and our hips, calves and my bunions are BURNING! The last 1/2 km was so difficult. I took a stuff sack that had my camera and some food in it off Jeremy’s pack and carried it to alleviate some of the weight off him. It probably weighed about 10 pounds… but wow… did it feel very heavy.
We made it back to the car, just as there was really no twilight left. Praise God. We thanked Him for keeping us safe from our many silly choices. Starting too late, not being aware of our own limitations, getting our kids into this situation. I was however, very proud of our children for not whining and complaining the ENTIRE time. And just taking things as they came.
At one point Jeremy stated that he was so proud of PJ for not complaining, at which PJ replied,
“My shoulder hurts”
We all laughed very hard! Thank you PJ for that levity. 9 yo with a quick wit 🙂
We had to camp since it was too dark to drive down the road. An old, not quite washed out, logging road. Our little car being a low rise type vehicle would not be able to withstand the abuse of trying to avoid HUGE holes and rocks, and failing, in the dark.
In the morning, stiff, very sore, and grumpy… we pack up our wet muddy gear and decide that our only choice is to go home, dry out, and try for something else in a couple days. Being as miserable as we were we were not looking forward to the drive home. ‘Lo and behold, don’t we run into the ranger as we are driving out.
Jeremy told him of our experiences and the ranger says, “yeah, I didn’t want to poop on your parade when you said you thought you could make it up there last night” WHAT? WHAT? I don’t even…. WHAT?
Isn’t that your JOB? to tell people that the trail is really hard and to not try to make it in 4 hours since it will probably take 6? What the heck kind of ranger are you?
As it was, looking on the map we made it about 5 km in and back in about 5.5 hrs. So a total of about 10 km. Pretty impressive actually for the state of the trail and the crossings.
We were very depressed, yet thankful at this point. Depressed to be going home, thankful that we weren’t hurt, or worse.
Camping on a mucky road, raining all night, in damp gear. Not fun.
Learning a valuable lesson, or in this case, many lessons. Priceless.
PT 2: Impending. In which things take a turn for the better.