Sunday, 02-Sept-2018 through Monday, 03-Sept-2018
It’s labor day weekend, and we’re not planning on laboring particularly hard. In fact, our goal is to basically labor not at all. The car’s going to do the bulk of the laboring.
Specifically, we’re going backpacking! Sarah’s first post-surgery backpacking trip! Woo!
It’s a trial run, though, not a full-on trip. More of a “see how our legs feel, and make sure all the gear still works” kind of trip, instead of a “let’s work ourselves and be exhausted by the end of it” sort of trip.
With that in mind, Sarah was careful about which hike to pick… and found what was absolutely the perfect destination for us: a place called Veda Lake. It’s a small lake South of Mt. Hood, about a mile away from the trailhead. The challenge, though, is getting to the trailhead itself – it’s 30min down an extremely rough road – rough enough that the trip reports all warned us that we’d need a tough vehicle and even tougher nerves to make it up.
Thankfully, we’re tough cookies, and the Subaru is just as tough a car as we are cookies. We made it up without any trouble, and found a beautifully empty parking lot waiting for us. There were cars there, true, but not nearly as many as we’d seen on the drive in – and since it was labor day that was a rather major blessing for us.
The hike in? It went quickly and easily.
I mean, come on. It was barely over a mile – we’re out of shape, but thankfully not that far out of shape. I’ve been working out a fair bit, and Sarah’s been doing a ton of PT, so the hike was pretty clean for us. The only challenges arose from my backpack – this was the first time I’d taken it out for a real backpacking trip, and it’s definitely a bit different than the one I’ve gotten used to. I… hesitate to admit to the sheer number of curses I uttered as I was packing it and trying to get it comfortable, but that’s how it goes with a new pack, right?
We walked in, past a few groups walking out, and even passing one going in! Don’t let that fool you though, the only reason we were able to pass them was because they were a huge team – three humans, four dogs, and one kayak. Not one of the light ones either… one of those heavy wal-mart kayaks. They… they were making some life decisions that day.
Anyways, we ended up being thankful for that Kayak, because it slowed the other team down long enough for Sarah, Ollie and I to get one of the best campsites on the lake. It wasn’t right on the water, but it had a nice fallen tree to eat dinner by, and enough room for us to set up the tent on perfectly level ground beautifully devoid of any roots or rocks. It was lovely, and we had camp set up quickly enough that we were able to spend some time exploring the lake and playing around in the water before dinner.
One strange thing we found? Spears. As in, wooden sticks that had been sharpened, and stabbed into a dead tree in our campsite. Not in a creepy way, though. I know that description sounds “children of the forest hunting for your face-meat”, but it was more “some young kids sharpened sticks and threw them at a tree because it’s fun” sort of thing. So clearly Sarah and I had a spear-throwing competition in the middle of the woods. I can’t remember who won, but I can promise that Sarah and I both enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
Dinner? Simple stuff this time – just mountain house freeze-dried meals and some whiskey and tea. It was a practice run, remember, so we wanted to go light and simple. No back country cooking cuisine this time, I’m afraid. But hey – that’s fine. We enjoyed ourselves immensely! Just being outside, watching the sun set and then watching the stars come out… it was beautiful, and an amazing chance to enjoy spending time with each other.
Random challenge that I didn’t expect to run into? Getting Ollie to come to bed. When we camp, Ollie usually runs right into the tent… but for some reason she was on full sentry-duty this time, insistent on guarding the campsite all evening. She was good, and came when we called her, but she wasn’t super happy about it. She’d even made a little nest for herself under one of the trees nearby, so that she could overlook the camp and keep watch… cute!
Monday dawned bright and early – it was perfect, and we were even able to wake up quietly and pleasantly, since Ollie was nicely tired from the day before and wasn’t quite into full spaz mode just yet. Getting to bed early definitely helped too; we were up and mobile early, having breakfast and enjoying seeing the sun rising over the mountains around us.
Quick side note? Starbucks instant lattes are delicious… when they’re fresh. Turns out, they do go bad. Not like “make you sick” bad, but… definitely less than optimal.
We played around in the lake a little bit, but honestly… it was cold, yo. Veda Lake is in a depression, with pretty steep hills all around it, so we didn’t get any direct sunlight until we had already packed up and were heading out, sometime around 9:30 or 10:00.
We’d planned on staying most of the day; swimming and catching crawfish and enjoying the solitude of the lake, but that didn’t quite work… so instead we aimed to head back into town early and enjoy the chance to rest, relax, and make a fancy dinner.
Packing went well, hiking went well… the walk out was honestly really pleasant. The sun had already risen, so it was that perfect kind of weather where it’s warm, but not hot quite yet. Cool enough that we enjoyed the walking, but not so cold that we wanted to put jackets on.
Ollie, of course, loved the whole event – sprinting forward and backwards, jumping over logs, and sending out the kind of happy energy that makes you wish that you could just run screaming through the woods for hours at a time. You know, like I did when I was younger and somehow even less sane than I currently am? Yeah, just like that.
It was a good trip.
**Last side note: Ollie doesn’t like sitting up front at first. She’s always cranky about coming up, instead of just hanging out in the back seat. But the problem is that she gets bored in the back seat, and barks at everything that looks interesting as we drive. Once we drag her into the front seat, she remembers how fun it is to stick your head out the window!**