Day 2: Threeish Miles
We had a serious night of rain, a blessing to those within earshot of my snoring, not so great for Jes with a tarp too small to cover her hammock adequately. Since I’m an early riser, I got packed up (mostly dry gear, wahoo!), then cruised around the immediate area looking at the natural beauty that surrounded us. Once the others started stirring (small rocks against a hammock seem to rouse people, who knew?), it was time for breakfast and coffee and hot chocolate – nothing like a mocha in the morning on the trail.
Our plan was to hike back towards the parking lot, taking a return detour along another trail to a lake (the last of 4) that looked promising on the map. Since everyone was at differing stages of readiness, people headed out as they became ready, confident that we’d all connect somewhere further along the trail.
Immediately out of camp, we headed up and it never seemed to end. 4 of the group charged ahead, while Missouri Howell and I hung back, content to walk and rest together, as our fitness and pace was quite similar. When we got to the Packard Lake trail turnoff, we realized it was a bit hidden (the sign could only be seen approaching from the opposite side), so we realized that, once again, our plans might be on the cusp of changing.
A steep downhill had us wondering if, not finding anybody at Packard Lake, we might have to turn around and come back up. Since it was early in the day we didn’t worry and wandered along, enjoying another beautiful morning. Not long after, Jes found us and reported that: Josh had headed out to see his visiting family (always a good choice) and that Rozanne and Paulina had missed the turn and were, hopefully, coming back to find us.
We continued on, having decided to wait for them by the first of the four lakes, Wylder Lake. And what a spot to wait it was. Just a flat out beautiful lake at altitude and, amazingly, a somewhat developed campsite with a fire ring made of rocks, logs dragged down to create a seating area, and great options for both hammocks and tents. Right then and there we decided that was our stopping place for the night.
Rozanne and Paulina made an appearance not long after, and we worked on setting up our sleeping arrangements. Having tried the hammock the night before, I decided to try my Lawson Hammock as a ground tent, one of its unique features. Jes had borrowed Josh’s Lawson, and, after stringing it up, decided it was quite amazing. After crawling in for a nap, we weren’t sure we’d see her again that afternoon or whether Josh would get the hammock back, haha.
Paulina busied herself preparing a campfire for later, then we all wandered the edges of the lake, its wetlands dry save for small streams running through it, far below our feet but small enough to get across with a single step. Wildflowers bloomed throughout and it was just a peaceful and relaxing way to spend the afternoon. As evening fell, fish started jumping on the lake, some of quite a large size, and not a few of us wondered what it would have been like if we’d brought fishing poles.
Dinner (actually several dinners) were consumed, then we contentedly sat around the fire until it was time for bed. Unfortunately, there was no rain to mask the roar of my snore, so, while I enjoyed relatively rejuvenating slumber, it was not to be for some of the others.