Monday, August 8, 2016

You don't take a back seat to anyone.

I was putting my kayak on the truck when my 83 year old neighbor came over to help. "I don't see many women doing the things you do," he said. "You don't take a back seat to anyone."

Which was nice to hear. Even if it reminds me of "nobody puts Baby in the corner."

Into every life, a little rain must fall, and it was our turn this weekend as my friend T and I hiked up to Little Frazier Lake. Halfway up Hawkins Pass, LFL is somewhat overlooked, but it is a quiet and beautiful spot with few campsites. T was unfortunately re-learning the lesson we all sometimes forget, which is that hiking in boots new to us can cause repercussions. I hiked over to the neighboring horse camp to borrow scissors to cut her moleskin, and we watched as a benign sky turned to night.


Until about two in the morning, when an insistent rain began to fall on the tents, followed by several waves of thunder, lightning, wind, and more rain. It's been so long since I've camped in a thunderstorm that it felt deeply unfamiliar. Darn the packing up in the rain! But we had ten miles to go, so pack up we did.

T suffered greatly on the way down, resorting to flip flops at one point, but she is tough and continued on. At the last junction I sped down to the trailhead as fast as I could walk (3 miles in 50 minutes over lots of rocks!), grabbed the pair of boots she should have worn from her car, and hiked back up to intercept her, take her pack, and exchange boots. This earned me curious stares from the people I had sped past on the way down, and then passed going back up. "Oh no! Did you forget something?" one couple asked.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, but it seems like everyone is this year. Contrary to previous years, the woods seem really crowded this summer. All sorts of humanity paraded past me on this hike: people with enormous packs and Walmart tents, guys with external frame backpacks, and Boy Scouts with the defining gadget: a coffee can with a wire handle. I picked a ton of those out of the wilderness back in the nineties and I had no idea they were still using them.
The next adventure is finding the lake that lies behind this basin above the light colored rocks.
Despite the misery that sometimes occurs, every trip has its elements, and this one certainly did. We sat on the rocks, speculating about exactly how to get to Honeymoon Lake, somewhere on the shoulder of Cusick Mountain. As my friend put it, "my feet hurt. But my soul..."




11 comments:

  1. Does it seem like there are just a lot more people in the valley this year? I was shocked by how many people seemed to be in the towns and forest when I was there the beginning of July.
    I was wondering if our little corner of paradise is finally going to be overrun......

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    1. Yes. I definitely think there are more. I've never seen so many cars at the Wallowa lake trailhead and town is crazy. Luckily they spend money and will be gone as soon as it snows.

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  2. Yeah all my favorite trails close to Portland have been totally overwhelmed this year. The Gorge trails have been so busy there's no place to park. Although it's great people are getting outside and exercising I don't like that my special places are getting full of people....ugh!

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  3. Same here....a beautiful summer and places to enjoy it, but many more people in them, especially along the shorelines, trails and campgrounds of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. From his vantage point, I'm sure it was a compliment!

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    1. Hmm, I guess it is good people are out there, but it's kind of weird how many more there are. It's definitely noticeable.

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  4. Same for us Mary. We've been spending all of our summer so far on the southern side of the range, mostly because it always has been less crowded.
    This year is different, it started with the hordes of mushroom pickers in the spring and right up till the 4th of July, trampling through all the burned areas from last years burns, showing little to no respect for the forest or the surrounding areas. And now we've been seeing more cars at the trail heads then ever before and a lot of out of state cars. We even had one group from California wanting to give us the web site address that they would be posting all the video and information about there trip on. Think the popularity of the area might have a little to do with social media ????

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    1. You know what's weird? I'm seeing so many trail runners. In groups. Who I see running and then see still running six hours later. Seeing any on the south side?

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    2. Haven't seen trail runners, just packers doing some of the big loops on that side. I'am guessing because of the long travels on dirt roads to get to most of the trail heads.

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  5. Up here in Alberta we are going through the same thing with many more hikers and tourists in the National Parks. Parking lots are filling early morning, Park Wardens are closing roads to famous Lake Louise and Moriane Lake because lots are full. I spent two separate weekends in Glacier in Montana this summer and both times that National Park was overflowing with people. I agree it is good to see people enjoying these beautiful places but oh my goodness, it can be overwhelming at times. Mary, what a caring friend you are to carry on and retrieve your friend's boots then hike back to her.

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    1. Here in the US national parks they have a campaign called "Find your park" and people are calling it, "Find a place to park." Yep--I've had bad blisters before and I know it is the worst!

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