Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In a land far, far, away...or just up Big Cottonwood Canyon - Hike #7

Last week (August 3-4) was the first time we had the chance and opportunity to camp this summer. However, this was NOT the traditional camping trip you are thinking of. No, that camping trip is coming tonight. The one last week was a "chance of a lifetime", a "goal and milestone reached" type camping trip.

No it wasn't to Africa or the Brazilian Amazon (however those would DEFINITELY be on the list).

This trip was up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the "S" turn.

This trip did NOT involve driving the car to the spot, unloading and setting up camp.

This trip DID involve putting a 50 lb pack on my back and hiking in 3.7 miles.

This trip DID involve hiking up 2880 feet in Elevation.

This trip DID about kill me but was so freaking amazing I can't even believe it.

Last Tuesday we headed out. Ben had a pack and I had a pack. Each of the girls had a small backpack with a couple items. Lyse carried hers and Katy hers for about 10 minutes until Ben ended up with Katy's and Lyse ended up with nothing (she was VERY proud of that).

The hike was a bit ambitious even without the packs. With the girls and packs it took us about 6 hours to hike the 3.7 miles to Lake Blanche.

No that is not anything is actually kinda embarrassing it took us so long. We took many rests.

The lake was gorgeous. We got up there in time to make dinner and enjoy the amazing sunset. We made a fire (even though it was outlawed). We were not the first. There was this perfectly flat rock in which a perfect fire pit was NATURALLY made. It was like we were being told it was ok! Yes I know we should have followed the rules but the girls wanted a fire and to roast marshmallows so bad, I decided to just go with it.

The girls made up an imaginary world (well not made up but believed that Terrabithia was over the stream's rock bridge). The girls said over and over again how much they LOVED it up there and how they wanted to stay longer. If we had brought enough food and had been able to notify family waiting and expecting our return, we would have LOVED staying for a second night. I was amazed at how quickly the girls forgot the LONG, HARD hike to get to the beautiful area at the top and around the lake. I tried to forget it but my body just didn't allow it! When we told them we had no other options than to go home the next morning they asked if we could just hike back up next week! Ummm...Maybe next summer?!?! :)

One of the most amazing things - our children and us were the ONLY campers in the area...for miles! It was a true back-country camping expedition! I have always wanted but never had the opportunity to be the only person in the wilderness camping. I LOVED it! Only us and the animals for MILES!

The girls played until it was dark and then roasted some marshmallows. Katy made me the most AMAZING roasted marshmallow ever! It was perfect. She was named the official marshmallow roaster forever! Her dad has taught her well!

As we settled in for the night, we still hadn't gotten out our jackets out. It was still quite warm outside. As we settled into the tent it was actually too warm and I was HOT! How can it be hot when you are up almost 9000 feet in elevation? That was definitely a first for me!!! The night was ANYTHING but a cold night, which is a blessing. I do wish I would have packed less clothes...less to carry!!

During the night an amazing thunderstorm came through. It was amazing and beautiful to hear the thunder crack and roar in the mountainous valley in which we were sleeping. The wind was whipping through the trees but extraordinarily enough it didn't touch our tent. We must have set our tent up in the perfect little spot because it was protected from the whipping winds. I loved listening to the rain as it pelted the top of our tent. It was very therapeutic.

After the storm was over I slept for a bit...well until the wild animal came sniffing around the tent. I laid awake listening to it for a bit and after it left stayed awake a bit longer to just make sure all was well.

The overall experience was unbelievable! I am so grateful that my family and I were able to do this. What an amazing experience and hopefully this will be a fun, memorable experience for my girls as much as it was for Ben and I!!

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