Hiking with Holly

Desolation Wilderness: Day 2

Susie Lake to Dick’s Lake

Miles 7.5

Gannon is whispering to me as he crawls out of the tent.  He does not want to miss the sunrise.  He will make the coffee this morning. How I wish I was a morning person like him.   I have no idea what time it is.   I made myself not check my watch during the night.  I have a bad habit of looking at it every time I wake.  I told myself that if it’s dark out, I should still be asleep.  Well, it’s now light out, so I guess I should not be sleeping. I always look forward to what awaits us each day, but it’s a struggle to leave my cozy tent cocoon.  I feel an inner prompting this morning that I had better get up.  I was going to miss something special.  Being the person that never wants to miss out on something, I fumble around in the tent trying to find my clothes that are bunched at the bottom, get my glasses from the side pocket, then unzip my side of the tent and gaze upon the fresh new day.  I tentatively stick my hand in my boots to make sure there are no unwelcomed visitors from the night.  As I maneuver out of the tent, Gannon has the coffee made and is eagerly looking forward to sunrise.  He pats a rock for me to sit on and I sleepily take the coffee.  What happens next is the most amazing sunrise I have witnessed yet!

For some odd reason, Gannon being the one most eager for the sun to rise, has his back to where it will.  I, on the other hand, have a prime spot.  And then it happens…I see the most bright, glowing, hot pink ball rising in a saddle between two mountains.  I am soo excited that all I can say is, “Oh my God, don’t move, where’s the camera.” I say that over and over.  Gannon is now thinking there is a bear or something behind him!  He gets the nerve to disobey my warnings and looks at what I am seeing.  I find the camera (still in the tent) and proceed to take tons of photos and a video.  It was breathtaking! No words can describe what it was like to actually witness it. You could feel it.  It was God’s gift to me and I am so thankful that I listened to that little prompting and got up!

The sun rising in the saddle of the mountains.
The sun rising in the saddle of the mountains.
Gannon ignoring my warnings and taking in the view.
Gannon ignoring my warnings and taking in the view.
The mountains on the other side of the lake are all a bright pink.
The mountains on the other side of the lake are all a bright pink.

We eat our breakfast and start packing up.  We notice that Steve is already gone and hope that we did not keep him awake with our stupidly loud sleeping pads. He probably wanted to get as far away from us as possible. We love our sleeping pads, as they are the Cadillac’s of the ultra light sleeping pad world.  But oh my, are they noisy.  We always feel bad for anyone who sleeps within 100 miles of us.  No joke.  They make noise every time we toss, turn, or even breathe.  Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle.  Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle.   Times that by 2 of us and you get our dilemma.  We each take a Benadryl at night, so we don’t keep each other up!

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One last look at the lake before we leave.
Back out on the trail.
Back out on the trail.

Back out on the trail and the morning is feeling good.  It’s not too hot and the sky is pretty blue.  We are heading to Dick’s Lake, but have to climb Dick’s pass to get there.  We hear it is not an easy climb, but we are mentally prepared for a day of climbing, so we are ready to do this.  As we climb this pass with once again, NOT our favorite kind of tread (skree and now railroad ties with skree), we keep looking out at the amazing view.  I stop and turn to Gannon. “I think hiking has now become our “other church”.”  We have an amazing church that we attend (and I work at), but we have found another church out in God’s majestic creation.   Gannon is in full agreement.

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Our favorite….skree and railroad ties.
More skree and railroad ties.
More skree and railroad ties.
This is our
This is our “other church”.

My phone beeps.  What?  Out here?  I’m getting a text from a friend.  How random.  I decide to call her on the edge of a pass overlooking mountains, valleys, trees, and lakes.  I want her to be able to somehow get a glimpse of what I am experiencing, even if it’s by phone.  I then want to make more phone calls to let everyone know how wonderful this is, but Gannon is reminding me we still have quite a bit of climbing left.  Oh, ok then…whatever. Off we go again and I get myself into a nice pace, use my special climbing technique and now I’m in full beast mode.  Nothing is going to stop me now, except for the fact that I let Gannon have the camera today and he is like super crazy with it.  He has to take a photo every 5 minutes.  Seriously, I’m timing him.  He is nice and tells me not to wait, but I get ahead of him, and then he’s tired from trying to catch up.  I am telling myself to just get to the top and not care where he’s at.  But I just cannot do that.  We see a saddle and are relieved that we are almost to the crest. We also see Steve!  He’s not that far ahead of us.  Maybe he does not hate us after all?  Just a little bit more.  I can do this.  I am a machine.  Just keep on going.  We make it to the saddle.  Hooray!  We are taking our congratulatory selfie (a bad one), and then realize unlike all other mountains, we don’t go over the saddle.  We have to go over the peak. There is more climbing to do.  AAHH!!!!  All my strength is gone.  I say a prayer.  “Please dear Lord, help me go over this mountain!”

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Up, up, we go!
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Looking back out at where we came from. Lake Aloha is in the far distance.
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Horrible selfie, before our dreams of this climb being over are crushed.
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Looking up at the peak we now have to go over.
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Finally on the crest of the pass. Now looking towards Dick’s Lake.

The way to Dick’s lake is fairly easy.  The trail is pretty steep and we have another 1.5 miles of down, but it’s a lot of switchbacks and the tread is nicer again.  A lot less skree.  More dirt and pine needles.  Our feet love us for it.  We have an approximate plan for where we want to camp.  There are plenty of good places in the area and we are here first, so we put our bags down and get to scoping out a spot.  After much exploring we find one that will work well and set up camp.  It’s only 1:30 pm.  We made it here early.  We chose not to take a lunch break, so we are pretty hungry now.  After lunch we venture down to the lake.  Gannon filters water and I try to convince him to get all the way into the water. Gannon hates cold water or really even cool water.  He gets in up to his knees and gets his hair wet with his hands.  I take this opportunity and finally get to swim in a lake!  It is freezing cold.  I let out a loud gasp.  But it feels invigorating.  I am fully clothed and scrub, scrub, scrub all areas that should be scrubbed after 2 days of hiking.

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Our campsite for the night.
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The rare sighting of Gannon in cold water!
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Submerged and ready to start scrubbing off the dirt.

It is fun to hang out for the day.  Letting everything dry on boulders and just relax.  Others are now coming in and looking for a spot to camp.  We pray it’s not near us.  For their benefit, of course.  We know there is a lady somewhat near us, because she does not use her forest voice and is quite loud.

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Hanging out in the tent.
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Our gourmet Top Ramen for dinner.

Top Ramen is for dinner and it hits the spot.  We make a decision that next time we will download some movies onto our phones.  We have some downtime between dinner and bedtime.  It might be nice to watch a movie.  For now, we sit on a rock or lay on our crinkle pads, waiting for night to come.  And boy does it.  This place is the darkest, most quiet place we have ever been.  You can hear a pine needle drop its soo quiet.  There is no moon out and it is pitch black.  We take our Benadryl and hope no one hates us by the morning.

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Sunset at Dick’s Lake.

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