Saturday, August 18, 2012

8.3 Miles, BABY!

For the first inaugural Family Camp in 2011, all the kids, all the adults, we all hiked up to Skyline Divide.  After a rocky start (who knew it was twelve miles dirt road to the trailhead and there was no way we’d finish nearly five mile hike by lunch?), it turned out to be a great day.  Sean carried up the watermelon that was rolling around in the back of the Tribute, and we had a nice lunch of trail mix, Goldfish, and watermelon on the ridge.

Oh, the pressure was on to recreate such awesomeness.
This time, we had five families.  Kids ranging from 6 years old to 14.  Hiking experience from very little to weekly multi-mile trips.  Some who LOOOOOVE hiking, some who may have rather stayed at the campsite.  And those of us who LOOOOOVE hiking, well, we had a hike in mind, the Lake Ann hike.  It’s a long day hike, and given that it takes two hours to drive to it from Ferndale, we thought it would be good to try it out, being that we were already camping in the area.  After all, we were saving lots of precious driving time since we were so close and all.
Did I mention it was 8.3 miles, round trip, and this particular day was one of the hottest of the summer?  Didn’t mention it yet?  Well, ask the boys.  They remember.  They can tell you all about it.
Our group this year—Owen, Sean, Guyan, Melinda, Cecile, Henry, Michelle, Alice, Kim, Kerry, Roguie (black dog), and in the front, Freckle (white dog), Roisin, Jenica, and Liam.  Kerry and Matthew and family opted to stay back at camp…Kerry only brought flip flops camping (coincidence?).
The hike started down, down, down into a valley with a cool stream and wonderful views all around.  We splashed around and had lunch, and at this point, the younger hikers, their Moms, and Alice (she decided it’d be more fun back at camp with the other girls) decided to head back to the cars. 
Cecile, Me, Michelle, Kim, and Roguie.
Our family (including Freckle), Michelle, and Henry trudged on.
And on and on and on.  We thought we were doing GREAT!!!  Feeling good, crossing streams, watching the distance tick on by on my GPS watch.  And then we came to another stream crossing.  Huh?  With a turn off to the Swift Creek Trail.  Double huh?  Didn’t we pass that back at lunch?  Aren’t we four miles in with just a little bit to go before we get to the lake?  Sean, my geologist husband, was expressing his doubt at the location…where would an alpine lake be around here?  Our doubts were growing.  Never fear—we KNEW we were on a trail, but had we really gone four miles?  “Let me check something…,” Melinda says.
“Whoopsie!  You know how we thought we’d gone four miles?  Silly me, the watch was measuring kilometers!”  And then I ran ahead before they could beat me with a stick.  Good thing it was 80+ degrees…they didn’t have the energy.
So we continued on again.  Across some huge boulder and scree fields in the blazing sun…
Up a blinding snowfield…
To finally arrive at…Lake Ann.  A frozen Lake Ann. 
At this point, everyone was so tired, we collapsed under a tree, had some watermelon, and regrouped.
Most of our hiking party was content to stay put and keep regrouping, but Sean and I went about a quarter mile more to see what there was to see.  So glad we did!  It was so sunny and bright, the glaciers of Mount Shuksan were glowing with the sun shining down on them.  In the upper left, that’s the Upper Curtis Glacier, and in the middle, that’s the Lower Curtis Glacier. 
There’s a climbing route around the left of the Lower Curtis Glacier and over the top of the Upper Curtis Glacier to summit Mount Shuksan…I think I am totally content with never doing that particular climb. My bucket list is filled with different things than climbing rocks and crossing crevasses.  Hiking, yes, climbing, no.
It was nearly impossible to keep your eyes open to look into the camera and smile. “One, two, three, OPEN YOUR EYES!” Click.
I think I need to explain this last picture.  It looks like it’s overcast and that my children were doused in a rainstorm.  Not so.  If I remember correctly, it wasn’t overcast at all; in fact, Michelle’s pictures from her nicer-than-mine camera show pretty bright blue skies.  All the water drenching the boys came from that nice little stream I showed you in the beginning.  Any time we came across a stream on this hike, we’d sprinkle some water on our heads.  By the time we were finishing the hike in 85 degree weather, we were just about jumping in it.

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