On the road again

Hubby, The Stinker, and I usually do a 4th of July backpacking trip to get away from all the firework chaos.  I picked out a new spot to check out earlier this spring and we were very excited to explore a new mountain range.  This week, however, we just couldn’t get ourselves jazzed up for the trip.  Work has been busy for both of us and we’ve been spending most of our free time around the house getting things done, which is great, but left us no time to really prep for backpacking.  The night before we were supposed to leave we decided to can the backpacking trip and just take our little camper out to the campground at the trailhead.  We could do some day hiking and still have a good time.  The morning we were supposed to leave both of us were really stressed out because we hadn’t gotten enough prep done the night before and the hassle of it all was already wearing on us.  Then we stopped and realized: camping isn’t supposed to stress you out, it’s supposed to help you relax!  So, with that, we decided to stay home.  More importantly, we decided that on the 4th of July, we would still drive to the trailhead and do a little hiking to explore the area.  It would give us a chance to check out the campground and decide if it was a place we wanted to return with our little camper at a later date.  By the time we got there, mid-afternoon–after a long and bumpy gravel road, we were glad we didn’t haul our camper, as it would have been a loooooong, extra bumpy drive with a trailer attached to the back of the truck.  Plus the campground wasn’t that great and the mosquitoes were actually quite thick.  We made a good decision.

When we hit the trail at 2:00pm, we had no particular agenda in mind.  It was 5.5 miles to the lake, and it was pretty obvious to us that we were not going to hike that far given our late start.  But by the time we got to our trail junction 2 miles in, we’d been hiking for only about 45 minutes.  We were having such a great time that we decided to keep going.  The trail grade was very mellow and the hiking was easy (and fast!).  The scenery was beautiful and the wildflowers were in full bloom.  We got to our first stream crossing (no bridge).  I stripped down to bare feet, Hubby found a log to cross.  Second stream crossing: another convoluted path to a log crossing.  Third and 4th stream crossings?  Bridges!  I don’t understand that logic, but they were appreciated.  Fifth and final stream crossing: no bridge.  And it was a bitch to cross.  There was still a lot of snow and there were no logs.  We finally found a rock in the middle of the stream that we were able to jump to and then jump to the other bank.  It was tricky, but we made it safely.  We were only a couple hundred yards from the lake at this point, so it seemed silly to turn around after having come so far.

There was someone camped at the lake.  Again, we made the right decision not to backpack in!  The lack of bridges at the stream crossings, plus the snow fields on the trail, and now other backpackers at the relatively small lake solidified in our minds that we made the right decision to stay home and just do a day hike.  It turned out to be a long day hike, 11 miles total, but we really enjoyed our day.  Suffice it to say, we were all wiped out by the time we got back to the truck.

On our drive home our timing was such that we got to see fireworks displays in 6 different towns.  In one town, all the locals were gathered at the gas station to watch the show.  Apparently that’s the best spot in town.  Ah, small town Americana.  I just hope a firecracker didn’t stray their way…

Saturday was a lazy day for all 3 of us.  We earned it, I think.  This morning The Stinker and I went for a run.  I was actually surprised she wanted to go, given how worn out she was after that huge hike on Friday, but she was all smiles when I asked her if she wanted to run–and she led for a good part of the run, too.

Tomorrow I leave for the field again.  Another 8 days away from home.  I’m not particularly jazzed up about this trip, and neither is my field partner.  My motto for this trip is “Please let this be as swift and painless as possible.”  There were some “issues” that came up last week, and for a brief hour or so, I thought we might not go, which made me happy.  The disappointment I felt when I was told that we were, in fact, still going cannot be described in words–at least not words I should be using for a mixed audience.  I did no baking this time (too damn hot in the house!), but as a partial consolation prize to this trip I get to stop by my favorite bakery/deli and pick up some really yummy muffins for the trip.  I’m also taking some lettuce and snow peas from the garden for my eating enjoyment.  That should help get me through this trip.

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