Friday, July 16, 2010

Backpacking--The Descent

I'm telling you, there's nothing like waking up on a mountaintop. Had it not been for the brutal mosquito attack force, I could have been convinced to stay another day or two. (Warren certainly packed enough food!) But, I had mosquito bites on top of mosquito bites and we were out of deet. It was time to head back down the mountain. (I did agree to stay another night at the campground, which didn't have a mosquito problem.)

We woke up nice and early so we had time to relax. I loved that the boys chose to study the Sierra Nevada Natural History book.

While Warren worked on breakfast, I watched the ants carrying off the remnants of earlier meals.

We then feasted on bacon and nature burger fried rice.

Once sated it was time to get down to business. One of the main objectives of this trip was for the boys to bury their placentas. Yes, their placentas. Warren salt cured them and had them hidden in his closet for the last 6-8 years. Ok, I know it sounds weird, but it is quite common for people to bury placentas under trees. We just happened to pick a really hard to get to tree.

I had hoped that the boys were still young enough to think this was cool, but once they saw the actual placentas they were totally grossed out and refused to help bury them. Warren and I proceeded on our own and enjoyed being hippies for a few moments. Once they were in the ground, the boys did agree to come light some incense and ponder the origins of their existence, and how far they'd come since being born.

Once our mission was accomplished, Warren and I headed back to camp to pack up our stuff while the boys played in a nearby cave. This time our load was a little lighter, and we packed smarter. In the boys' packs we only put their very light sleeping bags. We did add a sleeping roll and a few clothes to Satchel's external pack. Warren and I still had pretty heavy loads, but we distributed the weight much better. We began our descent at 11:30am with promises to stop and fish on our way out.

We found more toads...

And some much sought after crystals.

It wasn't long before Satchel declared his bag too heavy again. It wasn't all that heavy, but I have to admit that the external frame was just too much for my skinny minny. (This is my opinion, and not Warren's!) So Satchel and Jiro took turns carrying Jiro's pack and Warren unfortunately ended up with two packs again.

We stopped at South Lake to do some fishing, and Warren and Satchel actually caught some wild brook trout! Of course we had nowhere to put them, so we released them.

Jiro enjoyed getting a little more practice in.

Going downhill is both easier and harder. I thought for sure we'd get out in half the time, but it actually took a little longer. True we stopped for about an hour to fish and had a nice chat with a Forest Ranger, but we were really in the zone. The kids did great on the way out. Satchel turned to me and said, "I feel carsick." Before I could question him, he continued, "Not like I'm sick from riding in the car, but more like homesick for the car. I miss just driving around in it."

We made it to the trailhead by 6:00pm and were again pretty exhausted. Jiro and I stayed with the packs while Warren and Satchel walked the two miles to the car. We'd seen someone else in a car who told us the snowbank that prevented us from driving in had melted.

Once Warren and Satchel returned with the car, we were faced with the task of having to unpack everything and reload it into the car. By the time we finished it was dark and we were beyond exhausted. That's when we started our "convince the kids that staying in a hotel will be fun" campaign. We were desperate for a shower and a bed. The kids agreed and we headed for the closest town, Shaver Lake. (On our way out we saw a mountain lion!) It was further than I remembered and it was after 10pm by the time we got a room. Again, we had to carry in two sleeping boys and again we went to bed with no dinner. But wow, we sure had some awesome showers!

1 comment:

Chip said...

This all sounds awesome. And hey, the pic of the boys under the tree rules! I'm proud of you.

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