Tuesday, September 6, 2011

3 Lake Challenge

A few years ago, Regina and I decided that we'd go to a different lake in either the Trinity, Russian, or Marble Mountain Wilderness areas each summer.  By the middle of August we hadn't done so much as a drive over Shasta Lake, and we knew we had to act quickly or we'd be hiking through snow drifts.

We have a few limitations: Despite my large ears and great ass, I'm not a mule and won't carry all the gear required to spend the night, so the lake has to be a day hike.  I'm fat, so long hikes are out.  We could ride horses in, but of the fourteen or so horses mooching off the Bench H gravy-train, I'm not sure we have three or four that could make it up a mountain trail.  So we hike.

Lake 1:
After yet another failed attempt at getting to Paradise Lake, we quickly decided on Campbell Lake.  I don't know if hiking makes Dylan nervous or excited, but something about it makes her chatty.  Weird-chatty.  She talked the ENTIRE hike.  She talked to Regina and me, she talked to herself, she talked to her dolly (of course she brought a dolly), she talked to the few people we passed.  It was over eight miles to the lake and back of this:  "You want to hear a song? Here are your choices: alphabet, monkey in a tree, or butterfly."
"How about the monkey one," I'd say.
"I don't know that one.  Here's the alphabet song.  Sings...  You know how to say alphabet in Spanish?  It's Butterfly."
"I don't think that's right," I'd say between deep breaths.
"You know how to say butterfly in Spanish?  It's Cabootyloo.  Want to hear another song ..."
And on, and on.  Regina finally snapped.  "QUIET! You hear that?  It's just the wind in the trees!  Isn't that nice?  And peaceful?  Listen, just listen.  Please!"
"Want to hear a song about trees?"

Lake 2:
This one doesn't really count because we go to Lake Siskiyou every year, but the following weekend we loaded up the nieces and nephew, and the kids, and went to Mt. Shasta.  There's no hiking required to get there, and there are giant bouncy toys in the water that some old fat guy tried to bounce around on and instead looked like a bad audition tape for "Wipeout."  And, man, it really wore me him out.

Lake 3:

Paradise Lake has been our golden ring -- only because every time we decide to go there, there's road construction blocking the road in.  So we slipped past the loaders and backhoes and made it to the trailhead.  It's half the distance to get to as Campbell, but twice as steep.  So much so that Dylan was quiet the first mile in.  Then her little legs warmed up and the rambling started.  I packed Grady and he spent most of the hike removing my hat or dropping his in the trail behind us.  As if the hike up weren't tough enough, hat-retrieving leg-bends with an iron weight on my back about did me in.  Paradise Lake was aptly named -- at least I felt like I was in paradise when I took Grady out of his pack and scarfed down two burritos.

So there you have it, two new lakes, one summer.  I'm not sure if that makes us exempt from hiking in 2012, but you can bet that we'll be gunning for a new lake anyway.  Regina will study her maps and find something only lost PCT hikers have ever seen.  I'll be in the round pen, trying to get a horse or two ready enough to ride.

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