Monday, August 13, 2012

Rocky Mountains Day 6: August 6, 2012

We woke up famished. We cooked up a chicken and broccoli rice meal, which we hydrated with water and supplemented with cheddar cheese instead of butter (a last minute improvisation, which turned out beautifully). It was pretty good, except it turned our plastic cooking spoon from grey to green. Hmm. There was something toxic in that meal. However, it was actually kind of delicious, like risotto, and very filling. We garnished the meal with half an egg.

We sat by Ouzel Lake, which seemed more beautiful now that we were alone with it.

Dave took a plunge into the alpine waters. We hiked around the lake and sat looking at the mountains and the red bellied cutthroat trout. Dave wished he had his fishing rod.

We packed up and hiked to the Tahosa site, which was on a nice ledge. It looked like a good place to set up a yoga platform. We were happy.

It started raining, so we hurridly set up our tent and waited out the rainfall. It was warm, dry, and cozy in our little tent. After the rain stopped, we were still hankering for some adventure, so we decided to cross country our way to the Twin Lakes, which was maybe 0.7 miles from an established trail. We started in by following faint deer trails and checking our compass frequently.

We climbed over some rocks, and ducked under underbrush and between the branches of pine trees, walking through quite a bit of cobweb. We kept looking for faint trails. Finally, we actually happened on a cairn, which Dave got excited by and Mabel got slightly spooked by. We continued on, and suddenly came upon a secret lake!

We were really hoping to take a dip, but the side we were on was kind of marshy with lily pads. We made our way to the rocky side; as it was getting late and started raining, we decided to quickly look for the other lake. We hike around and even followed a lone cairn, but came up to a ledge, and could not find the lake!

Where was it? Dried up? Swallowed up by the other lake? By this time, we were both getting kind of concerned about the amount of light we had left. We started heading back, and at one point, had a cool vantage point where we saw a drop off on our left and the lake on our right. We kept heading west, and came back upon the trail outlined by the cairns. It became clear, however, that the cairns were leading us in a northwesterly directly while we really needed to head due west. So we left the cairns and struck out again on the deer path. As we were going through dense forest, Mabel stepped over some scat. It looked kind of big. Like the kind a bear might make. We kept going; Mabel was getting pretty concerned - we were really racing against the dying sunlight. Suddenly, something was throwing pinecones at us and making noise. We were really freaked out. Dave started yelling, "Hey! Hey!" to let the bear know that we were there. The angry chattering continued. We both peered up looking for the animal that was throwing down the pinecones. Thank God, it was just a squirrel, and not a bear. Boy, we were pretty scared. We hightailed it even faster; at one point, we were drifting northwest again, and so we corrected our direction.

Amidst the growing panic, we popped out upon the established trail. Mabel was pretty happy, but we still had 1.7 miles back to the campsite. Even though it was pretty easy going, dusk was falling and it seemed that every bend might reveal a bear or mountain lion. About the last 0.4 miles, we were really losing visibility. We almost kissed the ground when we made it back safely to our campsite. It started raining again; we warmed up the leftovers from breakfast with boiling water and comforted ourselves with hot chocolate. So happy to be alive!

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