It’s 7:30 am when I finally decide to emerge from the tent. Gannon barely slept (as usual) and has been up for a couple of hours. He has started my water boiling and I proceed to make some pour-over coffee. We have converted to pour-over in the RV, so when I found some disposable pre-made pour-over coffee at Sprouts, I knew I had to try it out.
Gannon proceeds to tell me about his run in with the shrieking squirrel this morning. As he is sitting in his chair, enjoying the amazing sunrise, and drinking his coffee, the squirrel sneaks up about a foot away, then starts shrieking at him. Luckily, he had been warned and prepared, as best he could be, for such a startling event to occur. Now fully awake, he is able to take some great shots of the beautiful alpine sunrise to show me, since it is a rare occasion that I would witness one myself.
We are packed and ready to head out by 9 am. I want to hike up to Lake Aloha since we have not seen it since 2015. There is a short cut trail that we can take, instead of going all the way back up the steep trail we just came down yesterday. The lake is calm and serene this morning and I love the reflection it offers of the mountain on its glassy water. As we make our way to Lake Aloha, we encounter more and more patches of snow. None of it is too tricky, but we are being careful of snow bridges. We do not want any injuries, so I am mindful of the route I take across them. We have a group of about 6 young women ahead of us, so following their tracks makes things much easier.
Almost to the top of Mosquito Pass, we come across a young guy with an injured knee and a snowboard strapped to his backpack. We learn that he is leaving ahead of his friends, but has gotten a bit lost and off his original trail. We reassure him that no backtracking is needed and he can reach the main trail by continuing the way we had just come. He seems relieved and we make mental notes of the interaction in case anything should arise in the future.
As we approach Lake Aloha, I am excited to see the lake. It looks just as beautiful as I remember it. I also see in the distance a long row of young guys with snowboards and skis on their backs coming our direction. It must the injured guy’s friends! We decide to meet them at a junction and let them know of the situation with their friend. They are grateful and we continue to leap frog with them for the rest of the day. At one point, Gannon even gets hit with a snowball as he is mistaken for one of them. Having raised boys, this did not come as a big shock and is actually quite funny. We finally hear a trail rumor that their injured friend was spotted about a ½ mile ahead and moving well. This time of year, they all hike up to pond skim below Pyramid Peak. Some good fun is what they were having and I am all for that!
There is still quite a bit of snow to hike across until we get back to the Lake of the Woods junction we initially entered in at. There are big sections of mud as well. Apparently, I am getting mud on the back of my leg and its now running down. Gannon informs me of it, but I dismiss it and tell him I don’t care. He can’t take it and makes me stop so he can take a picture (upon my request) and brush off all the mud. He says that it looks like I had diarrhea running down my leg! It wasn’t just splatters, but a few were runny and made for an embarrassing look for me. Pointing that out and then insisting on fixing the potential offending issue…that’s a good husband right there!
As we continue to make our way to the trailhead, this is when we start to leap frog with the mom and 2 little girls I mentioned in a previous post. They are fast hikers! They hike quickly, but then stop for some good snack breaks. I am so slow, that they do all of this, while I hike constantly without any breaks, and we all make it back to the trailhead at the same time! To be young again…. sigh.
It is nice to be back at the Jeep and taking off the packs. We are hungry, sweaty, and tired. Our boots get replaced with flip flops and we feel a sense of accomplishment for another overnight trip in the books. As we drive away, I look over to see that mom sitting on the ground next to her car, all their packs and gear strewn everywhere, resting and preparing for their drive home. A smile spreads across my face as I notice the 2 little girls sitting on a big boulder, sun shining down on them, eating those very well-earned ice creams.