Monday, August 8, 2016

Party of Two at Green Point

I love the idea of a big party on Ross Lake. The campsites there are so nice--I mean, it's not often can you backpack to a place with a boat dock! Even my non hiking friends could do the mere mile down the Ross Lake Trail to catch the boat taxi, which can ferry a group of 6 to any assortment of different spots along the lake. (I had my sights on Devil's Junction for my birthday bash in 2013...though the weather thought differently. Read all about it on my Ross Lake East Bank Trail post) 

In my illusory world, it would not be a problem to secure all the campsites the day of (because you cannot reserve in advance) and we would have the whole place to ourselves to have an extravagant blow out. And who knows, maybe someday that dream will come true. But this year, it was going to have to be a party of 2. 

My husband does not come with me very often, so don't get me wrong, I was absolutely grateful. And if this trip was a trial run for this grand future fantasy event, it did provide some lessons. Mainly I learned I need to lower my expectations, because scoring all the sites in any single location is not a very reasonable presumption. I failed to consider the boating community, which I can only assume usually snags their spots for several days at a time; making finding a window where all the spots are free a near impossibility. We barely got the last available site when we stopped to register at the Wilderness Center in Marblemount at just before noon on a Tuesday. 
Ken is taking a picture of moss. Gotta be a first.
As we pulled into the packed parking lot at the Ross Dam trail head, Ken seemed a bit concerned. (crowds are not really his thing) But surprisingly, the trail itself was fairly people free. Once we got going, he immediately commented on the smell, which reminded him of his mountain hometown of Idyllwild. Even though Ross Lake is only a 2 hour drive from Skagit Valley, and not even over the pass, it is notable how different the air feels there. 

Because my big party plans did not materialize, we opted to do the 2 easy miles to Greenpoint without bothering with any boat rides. One thing to keep in mind though--the shuttle over to Ross Lake Resort is different than the actual boat taxi you would reserve to take you to the camp destinations. Those taxis are not cheap, ($115 one way to Lightning Creek, although that is for the whole boat and not per person) but the shuttle to the resort is only $2 per person. So, if one wanted, they could cut this already short hike almost in half for very little cost. (Greenpoint is probably a quarter mile hike from the resort) Except then you would miss walking over the dam, which is kinda the best part. (BUT, it would make packing in a good amount of adult beverages a little easier-just sayin' ;))
Looking down on the boathouse where I had a wonderful picnic lunch with Kimberly.
(see "Washington Rules, Colorado Drools" post)
Behind Ken you can see Ross Lake Resort
Once we arrived at camp (warning: the incline after the dam is a bit more difficult than you might expect from a lake shore stroll) we found that the best sites by the water were already occupied. But no worries, the ones on the hillside were nice too, and I liked that they felt slightly more private. 
The best spot...maybe next time
Not bad. Each site has a two separate pads,
so you could fit a pretty large group on each one.
Sitting on the dock and watching the large group of kids play made me nostalgic for when ours were little. Ken reminded me of when they crafted their own raft, not too unlike this amazing pirate ship. These kind of memories are so precious, and even though I didn't know any of these people, it made me smile knowing this day was probably one they'd remember the rest of their lives. 
Land ho, matey!

Later embellishments; quite a piece of art
We considered hiking down to check out Ross Lake Resort on our way out the next day, but concluded the short but steep detour was not worth the effort. Besides, we wanted to make it to our favorite Birdsview Brewery right at the noon hour so we could have a leisurely lunch. 

We did decide one extra stop on the drive home was worth the effort, because there is always time for a wine tasting! Sadly, our go-to winery has closed it's doors (RIP Challenger Ridge) so we gave Glacier Peak a shot. It may be smaller and less cute, but I wasn't disappointed. That may be, though, because I'm learning to keep my expectations down a bit. And y'know, the truth is, things don't need to be grand or extravagant to be a good time. 

1 comment:

  1. Great report! I love the idea of boating up and hiking back. Bonus: it's a nice drive from MV.