Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Crater Lake (What the hail were we thinking?!!)

This was the main event of our trip. My husband has been backpacking into Crater Lake throughout his life. It's one of his most favorite places to go, and for the past year he has been planning this trip to take us to see it. We went with his parents, and Jake, (one of our nephews), his brother Scott, his wife, Tausha, and their 3 boys, the youngest being 18 months old. We have been preparing for this trip for a while, which is one reason we went to Fossil Springs a few months ago. But while Fossil Springs is 4 miles each way, Crater Lake is a 7 mile hike each way. I was really worried about my physical condition (you know, LAZY!) but it turned out not to be too bad physically. But the weather really kicked our butts. On the way in, it started getting cloudy and dark and we were worried about hail, which has caused hypothermia to one of Mike's brothers about 12 years ago. So when it started to rain and hail, we stopped at the last bunch of trees before the top. (Did I mention that the top is the Continental Divide where it is too high for trees to grow?) Mike and Noah hiked up a different way because of where the cars needed to be parked and we were supposed to meet him at the top before we finished hiking into the lake. When the rain and hail stopped, we decided to start hiking again, but soon after it started to rain. Kassi's hands were getting so cold and she wouldn't do anything I told her to keep them warm, so I just scooped her up and carried her, trying to keep her hands between the two of us. I had a small glimpse of what pioneer mothers felt like as they were traveling across the plains. To me, it wasn't an inconvenience, it just needed to be done. I didn't feel like complaining about it (which is a big deal for me!!) I just did it because I loved her. It was a great feeling, because I didn't feel exhausted or winded, I probably could have done it longer if I needed to, but my father in law had called Mike on the radio, and Mike came down from the top and was able to take her the rest of the way to our lunch spot. After lunch, the rain cleared up and we continued into the Lake. I was so proud of my kids. Everyone hiked without complaining even though they each had to carry a pack that was 1/3 of their body weight, course I think Noah's was a little more than that. Kassi of course, wasn't carrying anything, but she led the way to the Lake hiking all by herself, telling stories and singing songs as she went. We went into the lake on Tues, and didn't come out till Thurs. We had a whole day in there to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. It really is a beautiful place. The hike out was alot more trying. I hailed on us even harder, and there was a thunderstorm where we had to set up our poncho club (we strung our ponchos up like tarps in the trees) and waited for 2 hours. It was finally looking better and when we got to the top we were so hot, we were shedding all our warm clothes and ponchos. But soon after we did that, of course the rain suddenly came down hard, we were too close to the cars to stop at that point and just threw our ponchos on and kept going. My kids were real troopers, and didn't complain the whole time, it was like one big adventure for them. On the way out, they even stopped to play in a snow bank on the side of the trail. My husband is my idea of a hero, on the way out, he went to the cars first, and drove closer to the trail, left his pack and came back to get his mother's pack for her. He even carried Kassi on a couple of occasions. What a guy!!! I'm real surprised that my body didn't have any long term ill effects, and quite proud of our family. It was a good bonding experience.

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