The first thing that went wrong was my pack being flung to the floor of the backseat as we bumped our way down the lumpy dirt road to the trail head. When we stopped, I discovered that the screw-in cap to the Camelbak had been a hair short of closed, and every icy cold drop had drained out. This would not have been a problem if my husband had packed the water filter–but he hadn’t. Thankfully, I had put a jar of home-brewed ice tea in the cooler for an after-hike treat. I loaded all 28 oz of it into my Camelbak, and my husband had 32 oz of water of his own. Somehow, over the course of the close to 8 mile hike, I managed to sustain myself with small sips of the raspberry ice tea. The abundance of wildflowers distracted me: monkshood, elephant head, chiming bells, paintbrush, columbines–just a few of the blooms we saw filling the meadows. We set a goal of doing 1,000 hikes together when we got married. Yesterday’s was 1,156.
Arriving at the familiar trail head, we noticed a sign that said the upper bridge on the trail we planned to hike was closed. We knew this could be a problem, so we opted for the adventurous route: veer off the main trail at the bottom and go straight up on the side of the creek that would ultimately intersect with the upper trail, without needing the bridge. This may sound simple in words. In reality, though, we were on a steep route that took us straight up 800′ and ran close to the forceful creek which tumbled vehemently down. At the same time, we navigated fallen dead trees, limbs and overgrowth which made it trickier than a well-worn trail. My husband and I have been hiking together since 1978. Approaching our destination this way got us both stoked and when we did reach the main trail (and could see the broken bridge over the wide, raging river), for a few moments, we felt young again! We went to the lake as planned, hiking a total of 8 miles, with a 2,300′ elevation gain.