Saturday, June 23, 2012

Toddler Camping 06.20-21.12

Or should I call this Solstice camping? In years previous I would be looking for long one day trips to attempt on the longest day of the year. I mean just under 16 hours of daylight for Seattle. A trip up to BC should clock in with 15 more minutes if you needed it, but headlamps optional for a day with that much light.

Anyway, the three of us had no obligations for two days and opted to go camping. This should have happened earlier this year, but we couldn't get our act together. We made one camping attempt back in May in the backyard, but it was so bright out, and in the tent, that Mirabelle couldn't get with the concept of sleep. We took the van this time as it provides a darker sleeping space than any of our tents.

We opted for Snoqualmie Pass on the drive out as we were hoping to get a small hike in and a longer portion for her to sleep during. Mirabelle wasn't too much into a hike under the lifts at Summit West. She wasn't into the snow too much either. So after 10-15 minutes out of the car, we had a small snack and started driving. She slept almost all the way to Leavenworth.

We were in town and it was hot. Not scorching, but hot enough that we went to Riverside Park and let Mirabelle go in the Wenatchee River. She dropped/threw rocks in and then fetched them out for a while. The water was cold but she didn't seem to mind. Eventually she went all in and we took her shirt off. After a while we hiked around the park before returning to town to wander the streets and shops. After dinner we drove up the Icicle to 8 mile to camp.

At camp we settled in and had a walk over to Icicle River where Mirabelle threw Ponderosa cones in a bit before we headed back to retire for the evening.

Even with the ridiculous amount of light, we were under some big trees and able to get Mirabelle to sleep before the sun went down. (At least that is what I think.) I was asleep shortly afterward. Unfortunately, she arose shortly after the sun around 6:30am or so and wanted out. We got ready fairly quickly and had breakfast at the picnic table in our campsite before getting on the road to a hike.

Since we didn't wish to drive far, we tried the interpretive trails at the national fish hatchery. There was some interesting things to see in the hatchery itself including a stuffed black bear and bald eagle. Outside saw raising tanks and then watched some Yakima tribe members fishing for Chinook in the Icicle before heading out on the interpretive trail. We didn't get too far before we opted to turn around as Mirabelle was already showing signs of needing a nap. That was right after we saw a small animal that may have been just a mouse, but almost looked too small and a bit yellow. But I cannot imagine what else it could have been. Perhaps the yellowish coat is more of a localized variation with all the ponderosa needles lying on the forest floor?

We hurried back to the car and Mirabelle fell asleep on the way home. She woke up in the burbs, so there was no second hike of the day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snoqualmie Mountain - 06.11.12

Went out with Steve to do a shakedown run for my upcoming trip to Shasta. I wanted to get out and get some exercise and get on skis in Spring snow to get to make sure I was up to the task of skiing a few volcanoes later this month.

The original intent was to skin up and ski the Slot Couloir. We got a lazy start in the parking lot while deciding on which ascent route to take. We eventually wound up on the Cave Ridge trail which was surprisingly not too bad this time of year. We skinned a few hundred feet before putting the skis on the packs and booting up the trail after the continuous snow disappeared. The most difficult part about heading up the trail was my skis getting caught in the alder. It was a nice morning and the ground was covered with dozens of blooming trillium. At some point the trail broke from the alder below the cliff band and we hit continuous snow again. We traversed left and crossed the creek then continued up snow on the other side. Shortly afterward, we broke onto cave ridge.

We took a short break and discussed caves and ski slopes in the area while determining which way we wanted to continue upward. We opted for the ridge and headed upward, still on boots. We enjoyed the sunny day and the somewhat cooler temps and breeze as we ascended. Eventually reaching the summit, or summit area. Steve contends the it may be the rocky outcropping to the east that is a little higher. We hung out on the summit enjoying views of the middle fork valley and attempting to identify peaks out in the distance.

We then got our skis on and skied down to the top of the slot. This ended up involving a short down climb as we stayed high and kept to the rocks. At the top of the couloir Steve surveyed it and said it looked good. Throwing some snowman heads down the couloir did not set it off. But I was not skiing well and didn't think I felt up to the making the turns for the constriction in the steep part of the gully. After some debate we opted to ski the Phantom Slide back to the car.

Steve and I leapfrogged managing wet sloughs that came down. The lower we got the less there was as the upper mountain had probably received 10-12" of snow in the past week which had not yet consolidated or bonded with the rest of the snow pack. We skiied within a close distance to the top of the waterfalls, and then booted through the woods to get back to the Snow Lake Trail. This involved two short down climbs through some cliff bands and cleaning up a rap anchor in the woods. Back to the car where it was around 70°!

This was a fun trip and demonstrated how much of a weekend warrior I have become. It was more difficult than it should have been for me. I think it would have been easier if I was in more regular practice. Forgetting sun block, was only a minor inconvenience. As well as forgetting a camera. Not being able to predict how hot/cold it would feel left me wearing pants that were too hot for most of the trip and putting on a shell for the descent to stay warm (overheat.) But these are the sort of things I needed to fine tune to think about for later this month.