Three of us felt a kid-like exhilaration heading out of Seattle. That left one in our group stewing in, what I can only imagine as, dread-like anticipation. Melissa was good-humoured though and it lifted my spirits. All month Melissa had expressed her concerns and worries over the trip. I felt slightly encouraged by her last few blog posts, choosing to believe that she held some excitement for the adventure. Melissa picked hiking and backpacking month for the blog this year. But she wasn't sure why and after airing her doubt and uncertainty I wasn't sure either. We both held out hope for another "Moss Moment".
Fire in Tumwater
|Clean and buzzed. Photo by Bob Redmond.|
|Our people. Photo by Bob Redmond.|
Wearing 30-45 pounds on your back and heading uphill in the dry heat is, and in no other words, a buzz kill. However, I found the trail, although uphill, to be relatively breezy. We made it three miles into Little Eightmile where we regrouped. We had a choice to head to big Eightmile and set up camp, or push for Lake Caroline, which would be grueling but put us closer to the approach for Mt. Cashmere. I offered that we push on. Everyone seemed in agreement, although I saw an ambivalent look on Melissa's face. Her spirits seemed high enough at the time and physically she hadn't been struggling. I was the slow one in the pack. I hike better if I don't have to stop. If I can just keep moving I'm more likely to go on and not give up with the going gets tough.
|Burns from my backpack. Photo by Bob Redmond.|
|Beautiful wildflowers. Photo by Bob Redmond.|
|Alpine meadows. Photo by Bob Redmond.|
It was about 500 feet below the lake when Melissa had her big break down.
Things I Won't Lie About
|Grimacing from the blisters. Photo by Bob Redmond.|
Biting flies and mosquitoes were everywhere. The only good thing about them was that they kept you moving. Bot mostly there was no good thing about them. Moving was the only relief we had from their spiteful attacks. Not too long after Melissa's breakdown we reached the last part of the climb and were now headed down to the lake. The bugs intensified as we got to camp. It was awful. My inclination, since the sun had set and its last light waned, was to set up camp quickly and take refuge in our tents. It was impossible to stand still without having 30-50 mosquitoes on your body, biting, flying up your nose and in your ears. I became increasingly irritated at my husband who was complaining about the bugs. I didn't like them either, nobody did, but there were things to be done at camp. After pitching the tent, pumping some water, and realizing there was no place to hang our food (and snapping at my husband all the while) we settled in for the night.
Our camp overlooked a valley to the East. We watched an egg-yolk moon seemingly stretch and rise over the Eastern ridge like an incandescent bubble in a lava lamp.
Under the Stars
And beneath the stars we nipped on bourbon and watched the sky shoot her stars.
|On the way down. Photo by Bob Redmond.|
You can check out more photos from our trip on our Facebook page.