Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Coming Full Circle on the High Divide -Day 2 Airlift

Day Two: Deer Lake to Appleton Pass JCT campsite
9 miles 1,800 feet elevation gain

We got up at about 7:30 and started hiking out of mosquito hell at 8am.  I yelled “Goodbye Mosquito Lake” as we left.  I hope I did not wake anyone up.  After leaving Mosquito (Deer) Lake the trail climbs to more open country, the trail climbed past a couple of beautiful tarns and then up towards the spine of the high divide.  My daughter hiked strong on this day.  Maybe the motivation of knowing that today was the day I would show here where we were airlifted is what got her going.  She hiked without a complaint.

Tarn above Deer Lake

Twisted trees above Deer Lake

Just before we reached the top of the ridge near Bogachiel peak a man came up behind us and asked where we were going.  I have him vague answers until I realized that he was a ranger.  He was a very friendly ranger whose name I did not catch.  He asked to see my wilderness camping permit and he volunteered water information for our hike up Appleton pass.  He said there was only one sketchy section of snow on the entire hike and he was on his way up to cut steps into it because people were going the wrong way.   We could not ask for better timing on this for us.

He passed us up and by the time we reached the snow he was there beginning to work.  He showed us the correct way so we were able to stay on the trail and avoid following the foot prints on the really sketchy off trail ridge that everyone had been taking.   It felt good to have a ranger in sight as we crossed the 10-20 feet of slightly sketchy snow.  I taught my daughter how to kick steps into the snow and showed her how far she would fall if she slipped so she would be sure to kick in good steps.  She just walked in my footsteps.

7 lakes basin

After leaving the highpoint of the hike I began to look for the campsite that we had been airlifted from when I was 8 weeks pregnant.   It took a while to reach it; it was further down that I had remembered.

The campsite was called Silver Snag,  but there used two be to camp sites there.  One campsite has been closed and one has been left open.  It was the closed site that I almost stayed in the night I got airlifted.  On this day I showed my daughter the log I sat on while I was waiting for our helicopter and took pictures of both of us sitting on the log.
Above Deer Lake 7 lakes basin junction

Sound of music stuff
Why lakes

A little bit of snow on the trail

Next we followed the ridge up and down until the drop off for heart Lake.  It was hot on the ridge and we were starting to drag.  When my daughter saw Heart Lake she made a beeline for it right down the slope on the top of the snow.  I followed the actual trail down to the lake, so it took me quite a bit longer to reach the lake than it took her.  The wind was blowing at Heart Lake so there were no mosquitoes but the air was a bit cold.  I swam across the lake a couple of times and treaded water in the middle.  I spent more time in the lake that I should of and I got pretty cold, but it was so worth it.  My daughter just took one quick swim and spent the rest of the time looking at frogs.

Heart Lake

Heart Lake

After we left Heart Lake it was time to drop down to Sol Duc Park.  A bridge across a creek had washed out there, so I went upstream to find a place to boulder hop across, then I could not find the official trail because the trail where the bridge had been confused me. 

 I was not at all lost, I was actually in the campground but I did not want to be caught trampling on vegetation.   Suddenly a volunteer ranger appeared and I asked him where the proper trail tread was and he pointed it out to me.  He was very friendly, he did not ask to see my permit but I think he might have asked if we were camping there at Sol Duc Park.   I told him we were staying at Appleton Crossing and he repeated the same words the first ranger said “that’s a lot of miles”.   Hmmmm that got me thinking and made me worry a little bit.

Our home for the night
We left Sol Duc park and crossed the Sol Duc river at Upper Sol Duc Falls (I think) and then turned left towards Sol Duc hot springs.   When we reached rocky brook campsite we saw a person was camped there and we thought he was in our camp site, but then we saw that the sign said it was not our campsite, it was acutally rocky book camp.   Whew.. We had hiked too many miles to find someone in our reserved spot at Appleton Pass JCT.
Appleton pass JTC camp was nice, we arrived just before sunset, dinner was Ramen with the MSG flavoring packets tossed in the garbage, but with my home dehydrated hamburger and dried veggies added to it.  There were very few mosquitoes so I opted to not pitch the tarp and we slept well under the giant trees.

We went to bed at about 9pm, we did not have a campfire that night even though we could have.  I like campfires, but the smoke stuffs me up, so I tend not to light very many fires. 

sleeping under the trees

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