September 18, 2018 § 9 Comments
Short post, as it has been a long long time since I have posted anything. I just returned from a week long adventure and I figured I would start my blogging with this story first.
This past Thursday morning, after awaking 3 times in the night (normal for me), where I found the sky cloudless and full of stars, some time around 4:40 in the A.M. frozen precipitation began falling from the sky. To me, it sounded like rain, and by true morning, when I decided to get up again, it was clearly snow and sleet-like hail that had fallen. To be honest, unlike Banff two years ago, this was simply squall after squall with no squall contributing a lot, but the number of squalls began to accumulate.
This was a day we had planned on a summit adventure day hike to Eagle Cap, but if you can’t see twenty yards ahead, why go to a summit? So after coffee and oatmeal, we decided to simply check out the lake.
Off we set out, without day packs, without water, without water purification, without food. On the far side of Moccasin, we humped it up and over a minor drainage divider into a different set of lakes, and soon we were on a seven mile day hike around the inner Lakes Basin.
At some point we were more than halfway, and so we continued. I should remark here that when we left it was still squalling, and we were pretty heavily bundled up, so when the squalls finally broke, we found ourselves grateful that clouds were still around to keep the sun from baking us inside our heavy layers.
To keep this story short, we had completed the hike, Larry, Drew and I were stragglers, and as we approached the small rock bridge that separated the two sections of Moccasin Lake, we came across a young (to us) woman who went by Malia Melody. I grabbed a picture of her against the backdrop, and offered to send it to her via email, and we moved on.
Malia’s story was that she has just moved over to this spot from Sunshine Lake, a very very small lake just to north of Mirror Lake. Malia’s family had dropped her off at the Hurricane Creek Trail Head, and with 55 pounds in her pack, hauled herself eleven miles, getting in late, and having a quick setup on Sunshine. There is nothing wrong with Sunshine, but it is a very small lake, and she decided to move to Moccasin on the day we encountered her.
Jump ahead one day, and while we didn’t get the earliest start, we got a start that was earlier than Malia, as we came across her still getting her stuff together to start her hike out.
We said our “Goodbyes” and our “Have a nice Hike”s and we were on our way, retracing the very steps we walked the day before on our day hike. That course diverged at Douglas Lake where this time we stayed on the main trail to Horseshoe.
We decided that Horseshoe would be a great place to stop and hang out for a bit. Get some food, drink, rest relax. In fact, while sitting on the edge, I decided to don my birthday suit and take a very very very quick dip in the lake. Cold, as a word is warm compared to what that lake was.
Rested, watered, fed, and chilled, we continued on. I felt like I hadn’t adequately cleared debris from my boots, which required a full breakdown, and I sent the others on. This left me by myself, and with my tendency to socially engage, that further delayed my re-engagement with the group.
First there was a group of 5, though technically, it was a group of three, and a group of two that were together smoking a joint. Offered to me, I declined, as I am WAY past that part of my life. As Frank Zappa noted, dope made him dopey, and he, nor I liked being dopey. Still, I chatted them up, and I was on my way.
My next encounter was an assistant Chemistry Professor, Washington State U, Phil. Turns out two of the five, were his kids, and they were on a day hike to Eagle Cap. We had a nice chat that lasted ten minutes or so, and I was further delayed catching on.
By the time I did finally catch on to the group, who were they chatting up? Malia, on the edge of a creek crossing. Here we learned that her pack weight was about 55 pounds, which included a loaded revolver (Husband insisted it accompany her), a hatchet (We bring saws, but they are lighter than a hatchet), and a Bowie Knife (We have knives, but again, they are small and light). So, the point was that she had a lot of accessory weight, and if you ever saw, or read “Wild“, then you know what accessory weight can mean on long hikes. For Malia, out for three days, it can be tolerated.
We leap frogged with Malia the rest of the afternoon, with her finally leap-frogging us for the last time as I checked out a well worn trail that led down to an Elk Hunters camp.
Malia, it was a pleasure to share the trail with you. Hike on!