Sparklepants, the little poochie, and I packed up our gear and hit the trail up to Mildred Lakes in pursuit of some wilderness curling. The “trail” if one can call it that is mostly rocks, fallen trees, and roots, with sporadic flags and cairns marking in some places, but not frequently enough to prevent us from losing our way a few times (one time being a 40 minute detour up and then down a cliff).
There are several treacherous spots with slippery steep climbs on roots and rocks, and one particularly brutal ascent in the latter part of the hike which is practically 1000 feet straight up.
Despite all that, navigating all the obstacles is actually pretty fun and the curling rewards are huge. Reward #1: Old-growth forest. Old old old trees, carpets of springy moss, delicate alpine flowers, and arborsaurus everywhere.
#2: Secluded camping. Our spot, sheltered by trees with a great water view on a little spit, was on the farthest and last lake. The quiet is only interrupted by the who-whooing of owls every once in a while. #3: The best place for dinner with a view: Sparklepants practically hurt himself with joy while eating a juicy steak, a crisp salad, and washing it all down with a swig of bourbon. It was totally worth hauling up all that real (but freakin’ heavy) food.
#4: Playing Bananagrams on the new backpacker’s table (invented and constructed by Sparklepants with a little input from yc). I don’t think I can ever go backpacking again without the table. It’s light, collapsible, and makes life in the wilderness so much more convenient. No more balancing stoves and pots hunched over rocks and uneven ground. #5: Happy dog.
#6: Solitude. Sweet sweet solitude. Not too many people are crazy enough to do that hike. (But we are!) We’d even do it again. The only thing I would do differently next time is to make sure I get some ice cream on the drive back.