Scott, Jessica, and I reached the trailhead around 1 o’clock, sat on the tailgate of the truck and drank a beer
Woke up at 7:30 this morning. Slept warmer than I thought I would. Scott and I are sitting here having breakfast. I warmed up some Jackie Chan tea then had a lemon bar and granola.
It’s a beautiful gray quiet day at Silver Lakes. A hummingbird just buzzed past my head. There were two other parties camping here, one of them just packed up and left. We are hoping the other couple leave so we can grab their spot for the night.
They did leave so Scott and I broke camp and set up in a much better location. At least our tents are level now. However, we did not camp where the couple did because it was not a good spot. We found another.
After breakfast we made our way up the east side of Hawk Peak so I could see if I would get lucky and find my lens hood I lost yesterday. No luck.We settled on a route that took us up the scree slope on the west side of Hawk Peak. I am really liking my Brunton Altimeter, it’s bulky but doesn’t need batteries and is very accurate. We ended our climb at 6000′ deciding not to climb a very steep snow field to the ridgeline.
We found s freshly dug marmot den but no marmot. After resting a bit and enjoying the our location we set off back down just far enough to side hill across a snow field the the east side of Hawk Peak. There was an area of snow with the tops of the boulders showing. I mentioned to Scott that I really don’t like this kind of area because you never know where the snow is thin next to the rock and you can fall through. I barely finished my sentence when I did just that. My right leg sunk through the snow and I hit my knee on a rock ripping a hole in my new pants. Fortunately it wasn’t serious. The rest of the side hilling went just fine.
Once we got on the main trail to the saddle from Silver Lake, I found some running water at the edge of some snow. My bottle was empty and Jessica was thursty so we stopped. The sun felt good and the grassy slope was comfortable it was a perfect spot to enjoy anther great view and a snack.We entually made it to the saddle but clouds prevented any grand views. I could not believe how many goat tracks we saw there. Did not see goats, but saw the signs. We did explore the area a bit and found another grassy spot. I fell asleep with Jessica next to me. Scott also took a nap and later said that he had never taken a nap on a summit before.Jessica did manage to find a stick to play with and she carried it all the way down the hill. I was surprised at her persistence in carrying that thing because she was walking ahead of me while navigating a steep hillside. It was funny to watch. I felt obligated to stop and throw the stick to her once we reached a safe snow field before our final decent to Silver Lake.
After returning to camp I went down to the creek and filtered water with our new SteriPen. It seems to work very well. Guess I will know if I get sick or not.Being 5:40 it was still light out. Scott decided he wanted to see the other Silver Lake which is why this area is called Silver Lakes. Soon we were both down the trail looking for it. The first route we took only gave us a small glimpse of the lake and went down a steep debris filled ravine. We then made our way through the trees towards the scree slope that surrounds both lakes but soon found we were on a steep shelf. We turned left and soon found that we had stumble through the forest and ended up just above Scott’s camp. Knowing my camp was next to the scree slope we were trying to reach, Scott and I decided to go back to my camp and see if we can get to the lake that way. After setting of again we did find a better view and sat on a boulder watching the lake get darker and the sun going down.
Once again we retuned to camp and I went down to the lake to take some photos and to tell the couple that was camping at the entrance to the main lake that we did manage to find the other lake. I had talked to them earlier when they set off to find it but could only see a small corner and gave up trying to get down to it. They had already gone to bed so I could not tell them.
It is now 9:10. Jessica is asleep at my feet and I am about done with this journal. Have to get up early so I can get home around noon for Edison. I sure wish he and Deborah could have come. I miss them both and have thought about them alot during the day. Backpacking is just not the same without them.
NEXT DAY 8/3/2011:
Slept good last night. Jessica and I were up and out of the tent by 7:10am. I packed everything up hoping to be ready to hit the trail for home when Scott showed up and I was. Jessica and I had breakfast while we waited for Scott. The reflections on the lake we calling for photos so I grabbed my coffee and set off for the lake since Scott had not yet woke up. Walking past the couples camps I could see that Jessica and I were the only ones up and about.The sky was blue and the clouds puffy white, it was going to be another beautiful day. It sure would have been nice if the sky was like this yesterday when we explored the ridge line. The views would have been epic. It just gives me an excuse to come back another day. When we returned to camp, Scott was there just finishing up his breakfast and soon we were heading home – So we thought. I started on the trail and we soon realized that I had taken the wrong one. We were heading to the smaller Silver Lake. Guess my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet. We did see a huge frog on this side trip that Jessica nearly shit on. I went to dig a cat hole when I noticed it. Naturally I took pictures of the frog, not the shit, and then we were off on our way – In the correct direction this time.We had to walk by the couples camp during our backtrack. The guy was awake and I was able to tell him that we had found an easier way to see the other lake. Since the sky was clear he said he was going to hike up to the saddle for the view. He asked me how long it took to get there. I am a slow hiker so I told him about 35-45 minutes, I am sure most people can do it in half the time.
A little ways down the trail I spotted some fresh cougar tracks. It is definitely hanging around the area because a little further down there were some tracks from yesterday. Looked like they were following the people that day hiked up. While we were on the ridge we could see quite a few people resting on the rocks around the lake. I counted about 8 people. All of them were gone when Scott and I got back to the lake with the exception of the couple that stayed the night.We climbed out of the Silver Creek Valley much quicker than I thought we would. It seemed to fly by. Just before Camp Windy we met up the the first two hikers of the day coming up Mt. Townsend. They were carrying old external framed packs and were heading to Silver Lakes. We stopped and talked with them for a while giving them a trail report, trading stories of past adventures, and plans of upcoming hikes. They asked about loops and I gave them some possible loop routes they could do in a leisure three day weekend. They each took one of my business cards and said they would look me up on NW Hikers. We said our goodbyes and wished them well on their hike then continued to Camp Windy.Scott did not realize there was a pond there so I showed it to him. One of the campsites had three tents in it. The pond was clear but the route to it was under deep snow still. I took Scott up to the campsite on the hill and the rocky lookout Deborah and I usually have lunch when we camp in or visit this area. It would be nice if Scott could get Kendra up here, he is hoping to. As we sat here the clouds began to move in and we lost our beautiful blue sky. I thought about the couple back at Silver Lakes and wondered if they made it to the top of the ridge before the view was gone.
Once again we set off for the trailhead. It was slow going because Jessica and I had to stopped a lot to let hikers go by. We counted 38 by the time we reached the trailhead. There was a group of ten on their way to Silver Lakes for the day. One lady saw I had a camera and asked me a few technical questions about exposure. I guess I must look official carrying my tripod. She couldn’t figure out why Aperture Priority gives her a different result than Manual Mode even though she uses the same f/stop-aperture combinations. She was grateful for my answer and was happy to understand the difference. She took a business card and said goodbye.