Saturday, May 22
This was a short over-nighter with my girlfriend, Lydia. She’s can’t walk as far as she’d like at the moment and so the relatively flat walk out to the river which starts the end of Icicle Creek Road seemed an ideal way to spend a night in the woods. This also made for a good excuse to dig out the 80 liter (or more?) backpack I got for $5 at a garage sale as my plan was to carry gear for both of us. I was training for a ruck race which I’ve since taken off my race calendar, so the heavier the better. It’s so big it has load lifters. I haven’t used a pack with load lifters in some time. We even too the pack’s brain off since it wasn’t necessary, though that was a bit unfortunate when it started to sprinkle.
The hike felt more like a walk in the park. We were on the lookout for mushrooms. Lydia has an intense desire to find Morels. One of the mushroom hunters she follows apparently mentioned finding some near pink Trillium. I don’t really know plants so Lydia had to point out what Trillium was. It seems to come in variations of white and purple so I’m still not really sure what a pink Trillium looks like.
As with the moose antler episode, it turns out that Lydia is much more observant than I am and did find a morel (video). It had been detached from the ground somehow which apparently makes them no good to eat. It’s a pity because Lydia’s fascination with morels seems to stem from their delicious taste.
Eventually we reached the campsite at the intersection of Icicle and French Creek. It was our intended campsite because the bridge was out. At least it was out enough to prevent us from trying to cross that way.
Instead we lit a fire on a rock just below the confluence and sat in our backpacking chairs. The sound of the river downs everything out and so it’s easy to lose yourself in the experience. At some point conversation fell off, then a smile welled up across Lydia’s face. “I’m happy” she said. The hard cider might have helped, but it was a hard moment not to be happy even in the drizzle. When it was time to put the fire out, we simply knocked it into the river.
The sound of the river made for an excellent night’s sleep.
Sunday, May 23
The next morning, I attempted to ford the river since I wanted the experience of attempting a difficult crossing. My understanding is that river crossings is the second leading causes of death in the back country (bears, combined with all other predators, and still are less of a concern than insects – reference). Given that there is rarely a need to ford a river except when backpacking and backpacking trips tend to take you far from support, it’s a rare opportunity to practice a river crossing in relative safety (the car only being 1.5mi away). Some times fording looks much scarier than it actually is and I thought this might be one of those cases. Ultimately, I couldn’t quite get across because I couldn’t find solid footing mid-channel (video) and was too cold to try properly on another line. The water is all snowmelt right now my feet felt like they were on fire they rewarmed on the departing hike.
I’ve never done trail work and since we’d brought a hatchet, I decided to try to clear a log while Lydia looked for more morels where she’d found one the previous day. While I did hack through the log, it then fell on to the trail and I couldn’t drag it away. I’d already picked up two blisters and so I wasn’t about to try hacking through the log again to remove just the section on the trail. At least it was only shin high and easy to step over, not thigh high and requiring gymnastics.
The rest of the walk back was short and easy. Lydia had finished her mushroom hunting and I caught up with her shortly before getting back to the car. The whole trip was unexpectedly refreshing given the short distance and extreme popularity of the nearby trail system (ie the Enchantments).