Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Prudent Mariners

When I lived in Alaska and perused the Coast Pilot, a huge handbook to all the bays for boaters, I would laugh when it would occasionally prissily state that the "prudent mariner" would avoid a certain area. Sometimes we were prudent mariners. Sometimes we were not.

Every so often, ferocious winds rake this place. When this happens there is no sleep to be had. In the morning, you can spot other citizens of the county walking through their yards, picking up souvenirs from other houses and realizing what has blown away. This storm also brought snow. There's a foot up by the high lakes now. Unfortunately it is an early start to winter. I was hoping to have a few more weeks of hiking.

A huge storm? We need a Hiking Pilot to consult. Probably a prudent person would stay indoors, build a fire and read books. But...we have a puppy. A tired puppy is a good puppy. We decided to hike up to Murray Gap. This hike starts up an awful road at an  obscure pullout. You wouldn't even know how to find it unless someone showed you. You climb steeply, second guessing your desire to go there. But once you turn the final corner, there is this:

Murray Gap is where the climb to Ruby Peak summit begins. Today was not the day to go up there. The wind was howling. A prudent person would have turned around, but we had heard there was a waterfall to be found. We didn't know where it was exactly and we wandered through the woods, telling ourselves we should turn around. But we found it. This whole basin, Silver Creek basin, is a wild and mysterious place.
Ruby in snow below Ruby Peak.

Finally we had to admit defeat. We didn't have a lot of survival gear and the snow was getting thicker. It was time to go. And time to retrofit our packs with winter gear. We should have known, but it is still a surprise. A prudent person would retreat and declare hiking season over. For now, we decided to be prudent.

As we descended, the storm turned to rain. J had to admit that Carhartts were probably not the best hiking attire. I looked back at the gap, now shrouded in snow. Prudent though we were, a part of me wanted to be back up there.


  1. What's the fun in being prudent all the time?? Some of the best hikes I've taken were in inclement weather.

    1. After being in the rain forest for so long, I have become a wimp, so it's good to force myself out. It's always worth it.

  2. Replies
    1. I can't believe how much I love her! I still love cats the best, but I'm turning into a dog person too.

  3. Ruby is so cute, I love her name.
    Years ago we hiked up Murry Gap and camped in the Silver Creek Basin.
    It was mid July and there was still a good bit of snow in the basin.
    We had a whopper of a hail storm, hail the size of golf balls driven by strong winds. It was coming down so hard that you could see large splashes in the water that was all over the meadow. We hunkered down with the dogs under our Hilleburg tarp and S video taped it, the dogs kept trying to run out and chase hail balls. I can't believe that our Big Agnes tent and Hilleburg tarp survived that with no damage, kudos to them for such good products. It was all very exciting.....

    1. That's scary! Have you been up to the lake in the basin? There are all sorts of ancient trails in there too. I hate the approach road, but the basin is worth it. I've never seen anyone else in there.

    2. Not entirely sure if we saw the lake, we camped on a rise in a meadow that I thought was the end of the basin, the trail up to Ruby Peak was in this meadow. We saw a small pond / lake but there was so much snow melt water around that it could have been that.
      It was beautiful and I would like to go back again someday to explore, we also saw no one. I thought that ditch that runs along the bottom part of the trail was interesting.

  4. In fact here's the link.

  5. Awe Ruby, she's so cute and growing so fast. I would say she's probably more fun to hike with than a kitty. You have a pet for reading and snuggling with, and a pet to hike with. The best of both worlds.

    I heard on the news last night that we're suppose to get two more weeks of rain here. I feel like a prune already.

    1. I agree, it's so fun to hike with Ruby and she is PRETTY good unless she sees other dogs. She wants to play with them and they don't necessarily love that.
      It's snowed a ton in the mountains so far. I don't mind the rain all that much if the snow on the roads holds off for a bit.


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