Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Backcountry. It's not a word I've ever been too familiar with until my better half found the wilderness and discovered a passion for it like never before. I knew that "back country" meant some type of a long, arduous hike. What I didn't know was that the destination was sleeping on the ground at the end of the night. After hiking all day. With 1/3 your body weight on your back. Knowing it feeds his soul and knowing that our family was in desperate need to unplug we set out for a "mom's trial run" back country trip. Saturday morning to Sunday evening was all I could spare but we were determined to make it work.

I recently mentioned my disdain for all the work associated with car camping: recreating your kitchen on a dirt floor with a picnic table; making portable bedrooms in the form of a tent and hoping you have enough marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars to last a minimum of one night. A fellow mom of three boys and Boy Scout Den leader told me "I look at it this way. You can go full board with an RV or go the opposite extreme and back country. Car camping was too much in the middle which was what contributed to it becoming a nuisance. Too much work because 'you might just be able to fit that in'. She recommended a back country hike that ended up in a spectacular destination accessible only by hiking it in. And I mean hiking every last bit of food, cooking items, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping bad and food for the next 2 or 3 days. All of this would be on my back??? The general rule is 25 lbs. or 1/4 your weight. I decided 100 lbs. would be close enough to my actual number on the scale so I called that bag and never looked back. I didn't want to chicken out by really thinking through this or anything crazy like that.

Saturday morning we hit the road at 8:30 a.m. and two hours later were at the Ranger station to hopefully get a backcountry permit. Trey was concerned they'd be sold out and we'd have to go elsewhere. Not a problem. No charge. This trip was starting out just fine. An hour later we were at the Ross Lake Dam trailhead parking lot.

So the hike in was just fine. A little longer than anticipated after we saw the sign indicating we were only a the halfway point when we thought we'd already gone long enough. That part was a little disconcerting. We powered on and about 2 hours later paradise was starting right back at us. This place was absolutely stunning. As you can see in the pictures, it was worth the hike. The return was a little more challenging but I'm not going to waste any space on that part of the story.

This represents everything we would need for the next 24 hours. Really.

Ready to go. Not knowing a 4-hour hike is ahead.

Almost halfway.

Ahhhhh...we've arrived.

Some fishing at dusk. Others in the campground came to this dock on fishing boats--along with their coolers and other necessities. We were a little jealous.

Cooling off and resting on our personal rock.

Our campsite from the lake's point of view.

We brought some rope along in the hopes of doing this.

One last look behind us as we leave.