Saturday, July 11, 2015

Walking on sunshine

The sun is up and so must I be. I watch the sun rise over the ridge. The night quiet and still gives way to a new day filled with adventure and new beginnings. The dew settles in the hollow areas around the creek and my tent is damp with the cool droplets of sparkly water. 

Breakfast is eaten with the warm sun on my back. Granola and instant breakfast. I never seem to tire of it. Gear is quickly stowed after breakfast and we begin the climb to Beyer Lakes. It's funny how much shorter the trip seems this time. Though the trail up the hill is rarely used and sparsely marked we climb without concern or care. I've been here before and I know what to expect. 

At the trail junction we turn left and begin the traverse across the side of the mountain. Dee has settled quite thickly on the bushes encroaching the trail and it's not long till the water has saturated my pants legs and fills my shoes. Just like hiking in Washington state. The trail gradually climbs and after a few hour we stop on an open rock bench. I pull out my sit pad and lay on my back watching the clouds. I drift off and awaken a few times the air is a perfect temperature and the breeze caresses my face beneath my sun hat. A snack is in order and I munch on Oreos as I contemplate the shapes of the clouds. How long has it been since I've done this? I don't know, perhaps a lifetime? 

We finally decide to move on. I arise and slip on my pack. It's already lighter be a dinner and a breakfast. It is almost comfortable as I begin to climb. We reach the lakes in a few minutes and I get to nap again while fishing is attempted. I drift off to sleep again. So far the day's been restful and sonorous. We decide to circumnavigate the lakes and I find that I naturally keep about a hundred feet from the water. It seems easier to me to find a route here rather then at the water's edge. 

Arriving back at our starting point we begin the climb to Baltimore Lake. This takes us over the pass and I find it's time for me to poop in the woods. It's a bizarre fact that I have come to enjoy this awkward and weird ritual. Modern conveniences left behind, it's squat over a hole time. Most enjoyable because of my recently discovered 'Tush Wipes' that are PH balanced so as to provide a clean and refreshing result upon completion of said event. No monkey butt or Klingons to be found when tush wipes are employed. The best thing is the used wipe fits back into its original wrapper and I then wrap them in a sealed ziplock. A most pleasant and satisfying event indeed.

We descend the trail to Baltimore Lake where I commerce with another nap while more fish successfully avoid the hook. A strang noise on he lake to my left reveals an otter swimming in his natural habitat. How cool is that! He swims past diving and swimming beneath the surface for over a hundred feet. I purposely left my earbuds at home this trip. I never use them. Only this time I could have used them. I got into a nostalgic sentimental mood and listen to a few Barry Manilow songs. They are all warm and syrupy and sappy, but I like them that way. I was transported back in time to my teens years. Reliving the moments when I first heard those songs. It's so strange how a song that you haven't heard for years can instantly bring back to memory moments of my past that I didn't even know I remembered.

We start hiking again and head to the abandoned Baltimore Tien site and wander around Wagon Wheel lake and another lake slightly to the west. No fish are caught and the day is waning. We are traversing cross country toward Fordyce lake and each the jeep trail in an hour or so. A jeep is climbing the trail climbing over boulders that I would have thought were impossible to climb over. Most impressive! Around the corner there were more jeeps. Jeeps filled with beer drinking fun loving off road enthusiasts. It'd funny but hiking is faster than four wheeling. We pass the jeeps and descend to Fordyce creek. Turning right we leave the jeeps and their drivers behind and descend quickly to the dam. I cross behind the power house successfully this time without falling off the wall. Last time I bruised my rear. I felt it for weeks.

We arrive at the lake just as the sun sets and we cook dinner in the twilight. Dinner complete, I complete my evening chores, including washing my flight feet in the lake. There are a number of off road enthusiasts here to. They have brought their fire arms. They spend a good half an hour expending shells too numerous to count. It sounds like we are in a war zone. Finally they run out of ammo and the night settles in like a comfortable blanket. Perspective is lost and the horizons shrinks to the end of my nose. I settle into my tent and sleeping bag amazed at the amount of hiking and exploring we do today. Time slows down, my eyelids become heavy, I can no longer teddy my iPhone. It's time to sleep...

Friday, July 10, 2015

Peace like a river

The threatening clouds were bluffing. From the moment we start hiking the clouds pretend to be harbingers for coming storms. That doesn't  happen. We hike a couple of miles in to the bridge at Fordyce Creek before we stop to set up our camp. Camp is a quite simple affair, two tents, and... that's about it. Setting up camp takes about a minute, could have been less but I need a rock to hold one stake in this thin rocky soil.

The temperature is roughly identical to Washington state in the summer. Low sixties and cloudy. We pass through the forest with the wholesome and natural scents of the mountains filling the air around us with truth and love. The previous rain has cleaned the air of the dust and the forest smells that wonderful way it does on the best days. Moist soil, wet rocks, cedar and pine. This is the penultimate moment of the day. Early evening, the trees stand silently as we pass. The sound of the road diminishes and finally becomes so faint our ears only hear our hearts beating and our slightly elevated breathing. The trail is silent, a carpet though and around puddles from the stormy weather of the morning. 

As we approach the creek the roar of cascading water gradually increases until we crest the hill above its serpentine path through the boulders. The laughing water cheers our arrival. The first leg is complete. A perfect camp just across the bridge right by the moving water. Wow! This is what I dream about. A smattering of drops from the sky encourage us to set the tents. The drips stop before the final stake is in the ground. This is too easy. If backpacking were always like this everyone would love it.

A campfire ban is in force so we sit around the vacant stone ring and prepare dinner. My turkey chili and trail brownies are quite the meal for such a simple and short hike. I am building calories for tomorrow's climb up to Beyers lakes and beyond. I am the camp cook as I am the keeper of our only stove. My specialty is boiling water. I boil it as well as a chef at a three star restaurant; flawlessly and without burning any of it. 

After dinner I complete my chores and climb into my tent. My companion has headed off to fish the creek, I don't fish so my time is better spent reflecting on the moment. Living in the here and now in God's wonderful creation. The darkness slowly descends and the air cools to a pleasant sleeping temperature in the low fifties. Everything I need for the next few days is arranged around me as I lay in my warm comfortable sleeping bag and drift off to sleep listening to the comforting sound of the creek churn in its bed. Sleep... comes... and... peace... iLife a river fills my soul.

Thank you God for these awesome moments with you.