Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Another Great Weekend

We went backpacking this weekend. It was a three day trip. We left Saturday and came home Monday. Our anniversary (12 years) was on Sunday. We've made it a tradition (more or less, we've missed some years) to do some sort of trip on our anniversary. We were trying to remember all of them that we've done, but came up more than a few years short. I guess those years weren't very memorable.

Some of the ones we did remember, though, were a 5 day backpacking trip around Mt Hood, which we did with friends and didn't even share a tent with each other! We also had a weekend away at Skimania Lodge. There were two other years that we did 3 day backpacking trips. The year I was pregnant with Davan, we took a road trip to Colorado and back, with lots of sight seeing both ways. For our 10 year anniversary, we took a cruise. One year we went to the beach for the weekend (just Anthony and I - the only anniversary after Davan was born that we were alone). The only other year we remember is our first one with Davan. She was 7 months old and we just went to a park for a picnic dinner. She was in a bad mood and the whole affair was pretty miserable. Ah well, most of them have been good - at least that we can remember!

We went on a new (to us) trip this weekend. We'd been planning on going to Elk Meadows on Mt Hood, which is an old favorite. We've done several times. When we do it, we camp the first night at Elk Meadows and the second near a river alone the Mt Hood loop trail, then back to the car.

However, this year Elk Meadows has been closed to the public due to fire fighting operations being staged there for the fire that was burning on the east side of Mt Hood. So, we regrouped and picked a new location. We decided to do a loop that involves Pansy Lake. Now, the Pansy Lake hike is only a wee bit over a mile and not a lot of elevation gain. Not that there isn't any, but there is only one switch back between the trail head and the lake. Of course, we couldn't just do that! No, we needed a challenge.

We figured out a loop that was about 5 miles the first day, 4 or so the second and only the mile out of Pansy Lake the third. Now, that first day, our 5 miles took us past the lookout tower for the area. You may be clever and have already figured out that lookout towers are generally in the highest accessible spot around by definition. Yup - we hiked a difficult 3 miles up to the lookout tower and then dropped down, down, down some serious switchbacks (causing us worry about the next day) to Big Slide Lake, where we camped the first night.

Big Slide Lake was really pretty and would be a nice lake to swim in, but we didn't get there until the sun was already below the ridge and were concerned about getting back up all of those serious switchbacks the next day before it got too hot, so we never did swim. I'd like to go back and get there earlier or just stay there for a day sometime.

The second day was up the switchback day. It turned out to be doable, but definitely hard work! Davan did great with it, even though we'd loaded up her pack much more this year. I was usually a switchback behind her and Anthony. I, obviously, need to do more hills when I walk!

However, Davan didn't do so great on the down part of the day. Once we made the ridge, we dropped back down into the next valley, where Pansy Lake is located. Davan had a heck of a time with the downhill and was very worried about her footing and staying upright in general. It was amazing because she'd gone down all of those switchbacks the day before like a little mountain goat. Ah well, I guess we all have our off days.

Pansy Lake was okay, but not a good lake to swim in, as I don't think it ever got deeper than about 2 feet and was very mucky on the bottom.

When we got into Pansy Lake, we passed an occupied camp ground (mind you, this is only 1 mile from the trail head) with people who had a roaring fire (illegal in the back country right now) and a cooler full of beer. After another family showed up to camp, this group packed up and left. Had they planned on leaving anyway? We don't know.

What sucked, though, was that they left about 10 cleaned fish to rot in the outlet stream that went by their camp site and tons of trash in the form of food cans, beer cans and the like. We policed up their camp site. At least, we mostly did. There were more cans than fit in our trash bags, even when we crushed the cans.

We had a leisurely morning on Monday and then hiked the mile out. We got to the car at 11:30. Overall, it was a very nice trip.

There's no new big news on the adoption front. We do know that committee for Chance is supposed to happen the third week of September, but still don't have a set date. We're still collecting information on Tanner. Last week we did pick four new bulletins (3 single children and 1 set of siblings) to inquire about.

The kids are all boys in this new group. There are two five year olds, an 11 year old and the brothers are 5 and 7.

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