Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Unsuccessful camping attempt outside Salmon-la-sac

My neighbor Ross and I have been trying to get out backpacking for quite a while now.  This weekend we were making it happen.  We rolled out of Seattle at 7:30am on the dot (early for us) and after a quick coffee stop we were headed out I90 to the mountains.  The destination was Waptus lake outside Salmon-la-sac area.

I have never hiked in this area that is loaded with alpine lakes and was really excited to get out in the woods, fish a little, and put in some miles with my backpack on.

The trail did not disappoint.  We walked along the Waptus river for most of the trail enjoying the cool air and silence of the woods.  We were making great time until about the 6.5 mile mark where we dropped down into a valley that had about 5 feet of snow covering everywhere.  The trail disappeared completely but as long as we kept between the river and the foot of the mountains we knew we were headed the right way.  It was hard work making it across the snowfields with a full pack and no snowshoes or gaiters.  Every once in a while you would be walking along and suddenly post hole in the snow to have to wriggle out like a beached whale.  It was slow going but we were enjoying the exercise.  

The big question mark in this trip from the beginning was a river crossing we knew we were going to have to make.  About a half mile from our intended campsite the bridge had washed out and we knew we were going to have to ford the river.  Being 2 feet deep in snowmelt water sounded a bit painful but it was a warm day and we knew it would not take long.  As long as the river was as I had read we would be fine crossing but you never can be sure this time of year.  

Well we never found out about that river crossing because about 8.5 miles into the trail, 1/2 a mile from the river crossing, I managed to have a medical mishap.  I was crossing a log much like the 15,000 logs I have crossed over the years when this particular one happened to break as I put all of my weight on it.  I fell through said log and involuntarily grabbed onto a small tree below it to stop myself from falling.  Well the tree I grabbed happened to be a pine with a large spike sticking out of it that did a pretty good job out cutting most of the way through my hand.  ouch!!  I was actually a bit more angry that the trip was over than I was in pain.  Ross and I managed to clean out the hole with ice cold water and got the bleeding stopped.  After thinking it over for a few minutes we made the correct choice and headed back to the car.  8.5 miles back to the car....

It was a good hike and I am amazed how great we felt for a 17 mile day.  I was happy that my feet and legs held up well this early in the season but it was a bummer to have to head out.

We got back to the car and headed back to Seattle.  My hand was not hurting much when we got back so I put off the trip to the emergency clinic until Sunday morning.  I spent a few hours of my sunday waiting to be seen by a doc.  Got a tetanus shot which I was wayyyyy over due for and was told my hand looked ok and to just let it heal on its own.

So boys and girls, what did we learn on this little adventure?  Well I learned that things happen and Ross and I were perfectly prepared.  I also learned that I am in better hiking shape than I thought.

I am hoping my hand will close up before this weekend so I can head out with Dan and Laura for a little backpacking trip. 

Here is a little end of post humor to offset the awful picture at the beginning.  

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