Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Han Solo

Ok, so 3 beers made that subject line sound really cool.

Last year in April Natalie headed out for her first winter camping trip. We headed up to Kendall Peak lakes which is a great snow camping trip where you snowshoe in 4 miles in with the last mile being the snowshoeing equivalent of a bushwhack, meaning there really is not a trail. This past weekend I had grand plans to head out on an epic solo snoeshoe adventure but after fighting a cold, or hangover or whatever it was I decided to bail on the idea on friday evening and repeat a trip Natalie and I did last year.

Last years trip was before this blog was started so let me recap a bit. This was the trip that last year Natalie and I took with my 3 season tent and ended up getting about 6 inches of snow overnight. Luckily this was a calm storm that blew in so we were comfortable under the 3 sleeping bags I had carried in. I figured that since it was Natalie's first winter camping experience I would make sure she was warm so she would want to go again. We worked so hard to make it up to this alpine lake and it never occurred to me until we hiked up to the edge of the lake that in April this lake was just a flat spot in the snow. Hmm, what a scenic plot of snow we worked so hard to reach....

So getting back around to this trip (sorry for the stream of conciousness post but well that is how it is this evening). So I rolled out of bed saturday morning at 9 and hit the road. After a bit of driving around to pick up last minute parking passes at REI I was on the road to the trail. I strapped on my snowshoes and started walking up the trail around noon. Ahhhhhh, I needed to get up into the mountains so bad..

Ok, so one more aside and then I will get back to the trip. I have probably posted on here more than once but I have discovered a formula to my happiness. I have discovered that I have to get up into the mountains overnight at least one weekened every six weeks. More is better but to maintain my sanity the formula seems to be one weekend every 6.

Ok, now back to the trip..... So I hit the trail at the crack of noon and felt the stress drop off with every step. After a few hours I was at the end of the trail and started up the bushwhack portion. Last time I headed up this with Natalie it was a lot of powder but this time the hill was a sheet of ice. Every step had to be stamped in so I would not slide back. About half way up the value of an ice axe started to make sense. Hmmm, note to self, next investment is an ice axe.

After a bit of bashing up the ice I was at the top of the hill. I took a quick detour up to the top of a peak to check it out and then headed to my campsite. After passing a few groups of campers I found a great campsite at the base of Kendall peak. Just about the time I was going to set my pack down I heard the entire wall of ice shift. This was a very eerie, very heavy sound as the snow/ice was consolidating for the night and I quickly decided to head to a safer spot in case the hill decided to detach. So a few minutes later I was within a stones throw of the site Natalie and I had used the year before.

The rest of the evening was spent setting up camp, bundling up and checking out the map for areas I had hiked and would like to hike in the future. Solo snow camping and just solo camping in general is a great time to just sit and think. I reflected back on the amazing year that has just passed. Wow, it is crazy how fast life passes. I feel like it was just yesterday Natalie and I were engaged in Doe Bay, or climbing Mount Adams with Dan and Laura. Wow, it all goes so fast.

Well I am back home now nursing my sore core calves and looking forward to getting out again this weekend. Natalie and I are headed out with Dan and Laura for another snowshoe weekend and I can't wait.


Eric T. said...

man, what a life! sounds like a blast. hope you took some homebrew with you.

Eric T. said...

btw, not sure why blogger.com translates my name from eric to 'what'... :)

eric t

Brian Tunstill said...

looks like you're really missing NC....