We try for a yearly backpacking trip, this is year 3 and we are getting better at packing. It takes some time to dehydrate food ( making sure it's light weight and enough calories) gathering all the needed gear and pairing down any extras. My pack was 20 lbs and my husbands was 35.
Day 1- started out later than usual and got to the trail head at 11 ish. We started at the pinto lake staging area.
It was about 9 km to where we wanted to camp. The hike had a few climbs but nothing too technical. Spectacular views that followed a creek part of the way. We arrived just before 3. We set up camp and toured around, with plenty of time to relax and make supper. I was drained- carrying the pack is exhausting ! And extra 20 lbs puts extra strain on your muscles and joints for sure! We had a rehydrated beef stew, we cooked up over the fire. There were defined camp spots but not really a " campground " although we did find a very interesting backcountry outhouse.
Day 2- we had a day trip planned out to a lake ( lake of the falls) We started early, 7 ish as we knew it would be a longer day. It had rained in the night and the first 20 minutes of walking we were drenched. A few km in there were camp spots beside the trail and we followed the river most of the way. It got technical as the trail was washed away from floods. Up and down the banks trying to find the trail added time and distance. We ran into 2 guys around 11 who had been helicoptered into the lake and were hiking out. "Other than a log river crossing it's a strait shot"
No problem right?
We came to a fork in the road, both trails leading to lakes and we knew we were on track. A not bad log bridge to cross and we were off. More weaving around to find the trail and we were very happy for the app that told us if we were on track or not. Our first major crossing, a single rickety log... Umm no way! We wandered further down to find a log jam that looked less sketchy ( but still terrifying ) I sent my husband ahead with the pack and instruction to take a video "if I did something awesome"
He stepped onto a log that broke and his ankle twisted as he fell. We both froze! Broken? Twisted? Stuck?
I went toward him ( in super slow motion) "hey! You ok??!"
Whew he got out, shook it off and was uninjured. I wasn't prepared to carry him 10 hours to rescue. Or anywhere for that matter.
I made it across the logs with minimal hysterical laughing ( typical when I'm nervous)
Probably another hour until we needed to cross again. It was a much narrower part of the river and we voted to wade across.
I thought I would tie my shoes together and put over my neck. At the last minute I decided to toss them across. Now I should say, there is good reason I'm not on a baseball team. I obviously can't throw nor can I tie a knot. I chucked those hiking shoes and one went across and the other into the river. I had a flash of a Vision of a VERY long hike out in my sock. With unusually fast reaction time I sprinted, down river, in my socks at super hero high speed, after my shoe. With no grace and lots of tripping I managed to catch up with the runaway shoe. I held it above my head triumphantly!!! My dumbfounded husband left on the other bank to carry all our gear across. So he threw his boot across and it hit me right in the chest! ( he actually plays baseball)
We climbed up an endless slope and over a hill and then 4 more hills to final make it to the lake. It was spectacular and worth the 6 hour hike. The plan was to go swimming but that lake was glacier fed. Not much swimming happened, my toes went in and froze solid.
Turns out there was endless mosquito's and blood thirsty flies. We knew we had a long hike back and did not want to get stuck on the trail in the dark. So we didn't stay at the lake too long.
The hike back was less eventful until after the second river crossing. I saw a black bear running toward me. I shouted "black bear !!" As I went for my bear spray. Juuuust then I see the family right behind their big black dog. I am so glad I did not bear spray the dog, and family of 5. At this point it was almost 5 pm, they thought that they were closer to the lake, and had been walking all day. We encouraged them to find one of the great spots along the river. I was impressed that the whole family had made it so far.
We made it back to camp just before 8 pm to a very hard earned supper. I decided to make a fire and ended up spraining my ankle breaking up some fire wood.
Day 3- Up early and time to pack up.
Everything back in the pack and back down. My ankle was not very cooperative but we made it out. Gorgeous views, amazing pictures and a great connection to nature.
If you haven't done a trip like this you should. I didn't start until I was 35, and I'm so glad I did!