Thursday, August 8, 2013

Spider Gap-Buck Creek Pass Loop (Part 2)

(continued from )

Are you doing the loop?" I eagerly asked them.

Looking down on Lower Lyman
I was ready to head back to Spider Meadows in disgrace, because I just couldn't find the trail to get down from the gap to the lakes. But just as I was headed back up, three guys were starting their way down; and yes, they said they were doing the loop! I was saved!
"How do you get down?" I wanted to know.
"You just go down the glacier."
Can you see the way down? Right down the middle
Sheesh, I should have followed my first instinct.(I did have a map; it's just there is a "gap" at that point, thus a little confusing) I asked the guys if they knew where that stupid trail to the right that just about got me killed was going, and they said to some abandoned mine or something. (well, I didn't say it almost got me killed; I don't know if I was ever in that much danger...but it felt like it)

You can see the first snow field I crossed in part one
(not the highest one)
and the ridge with no way down
They said they didn't mind if I followed them, but of course I couldn't keep up with them to save my life. (I am admittedly the slowest hiker ever) As soon as they were off the snow, they took off like rockets. I couldn't help still feeling panicky and vulnerable, because there was still no trail to follow--just a talus slope. Two women were coming towards me fast from behind...maybe they wouldn't mind me hanging with them?

Except they weren't doing the loop; they were from Alaska and hiking for 10 days on whatever trail they felt like. (many intersecting trails in this area; including the PCT) I could tell they were the real deal, and I'm sure they could tell I was not. They seemed pretty relieved to tell me they were doing a different hike; like girls who just got out of babysitting their kid sister. I hate feeling like a tag along, (yes, I had a big sister who was always trying to ditch me) except I really just wanted to stay close enough to see the best way down. They lost me faster than the boys did, though I did manage to scramble my way down anyway. (It wasn't pretty)

Not much of a trail on the talus slope
I was so exhausted (I think mentally more than physically) and decided I'd stop at the first camp site I could. Wouldn't you know Thelma and Louise were already there. I swallowed my pride and asked if they minded if I shared their site, because I couldn't go any further. It turned out they were deciding if they really wanted to camp there or not, and opted not because of the bugs. (and probably also because kid sister just showed up)
The Alaskan Superwomen "Big Sisters"
(in experience, not age, of course)
I didn't care about no stinking bugs; I was ready to crash. I couldn't wait to get into my nice safe tent and just relax. Although, the bugs were horrendous; that is true. I had to spray deet around the tent zipper just to get in.
A thing of beauty
I want to say here how much I love my tent. There is nothing about it I don't love. I think everybody in the world should buy the Marmot Pulsar--or anything from Marmot, really. I'm not saying that only because I'm hoping they will give me new tent poles when I send them a link to this blog explaining that I left mine at the bug infested site when I hauled out of there so fast in the morning as to try to avoid getting eaten alive...but I say it because I really mean it, too.

The gap, Upper Lyman, and Lower Lyman Lakes
It took me 5 hours to get to Image Lake. (a purported "must do" detour off of the loop, and where I had planned to spend my 3rd night) Though, I never did see it. When I got to where I was going to camp, (about a mile from the lake) the black flies were INSANE. And horse flies too--it was a full on assault. No worries though, I knew I could get my Pulsar up in 3 minutes flat (Marmot sure makes a good product, right?:)) and all would be well. Too bad my tent poles weren't in my pack. I actually laughed, which is really unlike me; usually I would have been crying. You should have seen me trying to eat my lunch inside my flaccid tent, with my trekking poles sort of propped up behind me to at least get the mesh away from my skin because the bugs were covering me and would still bite if they got a chance. It was just ludicrous--what else can one do but laugh?

Good Lord, I hate crossing these.
How hard is it to make a hand rail?

I could hear my husband's voice encouraging me to tough it out...he was sleeping in a bivvy bag, after all. (because I had to take the tent with me after the first night...the amazingly awesome Marmot Pulsar tent that fit us both comfortably, that is :)) Although, considering he was almost stomped on by a deer in the middle of the night, I can't say I'm buying into the "you don't need a tent" concept. (This bivvy bag was a relic from Ken's old climbing days, and when he took it out of storage it smelled like death. I still can't believe he slept in that thing; I'm surprised a bear didn't try to bury him in it as a snack for later)
Soooo roomy on our first night

Ken's bivvy bag of death

This deer could have been stomping on my head,
if not for my awesome tent...
that needs new poles, please Marmot company!
I decided I was out of there. No, I wouldn't go back for my poles. (five hours, are you kidding? And who knows if they would even still be there) I figured I could make it to the next camping spot before dark, and then out the next day. Yes, I still had to spend one night without a tent, but it was better than two. I only wish I would have considered more thoughtfully just how hard cramming what should have been three days of hiking into two. To be continued. 
Click here for part three:


  1. What a great story/journey/adventure/learning experience. I had to laugh when you said you were the slowest hiker ever. We should hike together sometime - you would feel like Speed Racer! Keep posting~!

  2. Love reading your adventure !!!

  3. Just found your blog...very inspiring!