Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ross Lake East Bank Trail, Part Two

I was lucky enough to have made breakfast before it started raining. I was pretty proud of my skills with my new stove--I even fried an egg. But then the rain started, and it didn't stop until that night. My husband really encouraged me to take this trip in the rain, so I could practice "rain management"...though, at this point I was already getting an F, because I was starting the day with wet shoes.

One thing I discovered is how thankful I was I bought a two person tent. I researched and researched tents, and then ended up buying one on a whim because it was on sale. (I just can't help myself) It wasn't the lightest one available, but I'm glad I went for more room. It was great to pack up everything while I was in the tent staying dry--that's what you call good rain management! The last thing to do was take off my camp shoes, and put on my nasty wet shoes. Here's a tip: before packing your camp shoes (which I HIGHLY recommend taking at least simple flip flops--you'll be glad you did) scrape the bottoms on a tree to clean any gunck off. It works really well.

I actually didn't mind hiking in the rain at all; this is a good trail for it. It was half way through the day before I came across my first hikers; a very cute father and daughter pair. He commented on how huge my backpack was, which yes, made me feel like I was all that. Then, because I looked like such a professional hiker and all, they asked how I got across Roland Creek. Crap. 

He explained, "We found a tree to get across it upstream yesterday, but we don't think it will be safe today in the rain; did you find a better way?"
"Ummm...I just plowed through it because I'm a dumb ass." Ok, I didn't say that. I tried to explain that because I was staying the night there, I thought I could just walk through with my shoes on and they would dry overnight; but even the ten year old knew the only important information was that I left my shoes on.
"You didn't take your shoes off?!?"
"Nope. I wouldn't recommend that, though". And off I went, my superwoman hiker cover blown.

I often mention how much I love cute bridges, and this hike has plenty of them. But it also has a bridge from hell. I know this picture does not look like much, but your not seeing how high up it is. Probably not high enough to die if you fell...but high enough that you would be dearly sorry if you did. Not only was I terrified to cross it, I was terrified someone would come by and see me crossing it; because I moved like a 90 year old using her trekking poles like a walker. 

When I finally got to Lightning Creek Camp, I was greeting by a large group of young men. Well, I wasn't really greeted; they were all under their tarps playing cards, and they ignored me completely. I don't know what I expected, but it felt awkward. It was still raining pretty hard, so as soon as I could, I got into my tent and cocooned myself in my sleeping bag. It was depressing, I won't lie.
The rain finally let up a little, but nothing in me wanted to move. I really had to psyche myself up to get out of that tent. I decided I needed to go say hello to the boys. This was even harder than crossing that God awful log bridge; but I was so thankful I did it! I found out they were from all over the country, enrolled in a recovery program that involved all this outdoor stuff. The courage to face addiction is one I respect deeply, and watching this group of boys play, laugh, and work together was a really beautiful thing. I never heard them once complain about the rain...though I did hear them burp and fart quite a lot.
My neighbor's tarp city

The break in the rain lasted long enough to make dinner and a fire, which I was very grateful for. But I went to bed with the sound of rain, and woke up to it as well. Thursday morning--time to pack up my soaked shit and slog up the famous Desolation Peak--the trail with views to die for. (but not today; the view today would be white clouds, and nothing else) To say I was uninspired is a true understatment. Though, I had to consider I had a permit to stay the night at the one spot up there, and maybe the clouds would clear in the morning. What to do. 
For the end of the story, click here
Determined to dry my socks and shoes--
it helped a little

1 comment:

  1. I always liked the part of the East Bank trail that is narrow and blasted out of the rocks along the lake... and depending on the level of the lake, it can be a ways down... It was especially fun when I was riding a horse and leading the packstring... wondering what I would do if we met another pack string coming the other way... lol...

    You are doing great and now can add rainy conditions to your repertoire...