Sunday, May 15, 2016

Rainin' on our parade. -The Notch: Silver Lakes WA

05/15/2016 Rainin' on our parade. -The Notch: Silver Lakes WA

We had been planning this hike for a few weeks. About 22 miles; 12 on Saturday and then 10 to finish on Sunday. Canary Pond in the silver Lakes wilderness has been a desired spot to camp for us but the opportunity had evaded us, until now. The weather forecast leading up to this weekend was all over the place. Rain, wind, thunderstorms, snow, were all possibilities. The latest forecast had us expecting rain in the later afternoon/evening on Saturday, so we planned on getting an early start Saturday AM.

I left home just before 3am, and heard from Rob as I was stopped for coffee. Our plan was to meet at the Benson Trailhead, leave a car and drive to Piseco to begin our adventure. I had mentioned to Rob my next stop would be at a Fast Trac in Utica. He had stopped there for a snack, and called me to determine my ETA. I was about 10 minutes away, so he waited. Cara-vanning from the gas station, we were heading up a hill a few miles away and my car lost power, made some ungodly noises and the oil light came on. I pulled over immediately and shut her down. Without getting into all the details that followed about my dead car, I will just say we didn't make it to Piseco or Canary Pond. I have had car problems before, but man this was terrible. Sometimes when it rains... it pours!

Since there was nothing to be done about my car situation over the weekend, we made the best of it. Instead of Piseco to Canary to Benson, we opted to hike in from Benson to the Notch campsite where our buddy Justin would be base-camping for his exploration of Hell Devil Dam. It was getting close to noon when we finally had our feet on the trail. It was quite warm and the black flies were out. I tried to remember to keep drinking water. The trail was relatively dry for this time of year. The white (or painted trillium) were in bloom as was the trout lilies, violets and witchhopple. Following the old woods road, Justin had dragged his feet near an intersection to rough up the leaves to make sure we took the correct turn. His tent came into view as well as his big green tarp. Rob and I set up camp. Shot some video footage for his youtube channel and blog and gathered firewood. I wandered around a bit here and there. I climed up past the big waterfall and found a cool section of the creek that looked like a spa. It was as though someone had quarried cubic sections of stone out of the creek to create walls and seats. Though it was a warm day, it was still a bit to cold for swimming. The sky was beginning to become overcast towards the west, and the winds would come and go. I hiked down the creek and past camp, located a spring and cleared it out, as well as my head.

A few drops of rain fell, seemed like more while under Justin's tarp. Listened to birds and waited for Justin, hoping he would make it back before the sky opened up. Soon Jenny came bounding towards us, with Justin a few paces behind. We petted Jenny's head and scratched her ears, and said hi to our pal Justin in a manner more appropriate between humans. The next few hours were just the guys hanging out in front of the campfire (and Jenny snoozing on her blanket). The rains did come a little. The winds too. I eventually made my way to my hammock.

I awoke before the others and restarted the fire. It was a chilly morning. Jenny and Justin soon emerged. Rob slept in awhile longer. We hiked out in the cool morning. Back to civilization and my rental car to get back home. I had expected to have to change out of wet clothes. I did not expect to have been drenched by a major car malfunction. Even though the trip was not at all like we had planned, I still got to hang out with some good friends.