Sunday, August 25, 2013

Alpine Lakes Wilderness Day 3

25 August 1986  The bloom is off the rose on our third day out.  We decide to bypass Escondito Ridge to cut our mileage down from 13.  What the hell, we're on vacation.  Breakfast is slow.  For some reason the pancakes won't set up.  They turn out to be a gooey mass with a bit of a crust.  Colleen won't eat them but the rest of us do.  Food is food and we have a long day ahead.  We leave Spectacle Lake following Delate Creek as it drops some 1200 feet.  The descent is nice first thing in the morning.  We ford Lemah Creek barefoot and break for lunch at Pete Lake.  The woodline is a bit removed from the lake, giving it an open, park-like feel.  Then we tackle the 1000 foot, one mile climb to Waptus pass and make an equally steep drop to Waptus Lake.  My legs are screaming by the time we reach the lake.  I am truly beginning to doubt my sanity.  Why do I do this to myself?

Fortunately we arrive in camp early and the opportunity to relax revives my spirits.  The past three days have been pretty rugged.  We've covered some 30 miles and over 8000 feet of elevation change.  I guess we have reason to feel whipped.  Hard damn work.  Sitting here tonight after a good meal and gazing at this placid lake with its surrounding ridges in shadow and one pink cloud in the sky all the sweat, pain and work mean nothing more than a means to an end.  The world has ceased to exist for me, except for this place.  The company is good, the setting incomparable and the weather fine.  Tomorrow will be a short day.  I've got everything I need.  Even entertainment.  Hanging food tonight required tossing the rope over a high branch.  Several of us tried with no luck.  Gary made a few unsuccessful tosses before rifling the stone well over the branch.  The stone's force swung it back over a lower branch where it quickly wrapped itself three times around the branch.  Gary tugged on the rope in an attempt to dislodge it but succeeded only in snapping it into a puffy white mass on the branch.  So much for no trace backpacking.