Sunday, June 14, 2009

Backpacking at Slough Creek

This weekend I went backpacking at Slough Creek with a group of friends from the dorms. We planned to hike to a campsite about seven miles in on Saturday and then hike up into Bliss Pass and then back to the trailhead on Sunday. When we started Saturday at around noon, it was bright, sunny, warm and beautiful outside. We hiked for about two miles and came into a beautiful valley with a pond on one side that had a log next to it. We decided this was the perfect spot to stop for lunch. 

Flowers along the trail at the beginning of the hike

It was beautiful when we started

A nice field along the way

The mountains come into view

As we finished eating, we heard thunder in the distance hurried to put on our rain gear and pack covers. I didn’t have a pack cover so I improvised one by pulling a trash bag over my pack and cutting holes for my shoulder straps and camelback tube. I was happily surprised that it kept my pack dry throughout what was to become a rainy and wet weekend. As it began to rain, we hurried toward our campsite, about 5 miles down the trail. The rain continued off and on as we hiked and stopped just before we arrived at camp. 

Our lunch site

View from our lunch site

Our campsite was really beautiful – situated along Slough Creek, it provided us with amazing views of Bliss Pass in the mountains ahead of us. Low clouds hung over the mountains and hills around us. Someone before us had set up three elk skulls adjacent to the campfire circle, one of which was still bloody.

The elk skulls at our campsite

Across the river from our campsite

As we arrived at the campsite early, we set up our tents and then relaxed by the river. I sat on a log and set my aching feet in the freezing cold water and enjoyed the view all around me. 

At around 8 PM we decided to cook some dinner, and at around the same time, the sky opened up and it began to rain on us yet again. We gathered wood and got a fire going despite the rain. The warmth of the fire made the cold rain much more bearable. We endured the rain while we cooked and ate dinner and were more than a little excited when the rain stopped for the night. We went to bed at around 10 PM with the hope that the weather would be clear in the morning so we could hike up into Bliss Pass before hiking back to the trailhead. 

We emerged from our tents at about 9 AM to another cool, cloudy, and overcast day. After breakfast and another campfire, the weather showed no signs of improving. We were still holding out for better weather around 11 AM when it began to rain again and we accepted the fact that the weather was not going to improve. We got our stuff packed up and headed back toward the trailhead in the cold rain. 

The low clouds the next morning

After about 3 hours of hiking, we made it back to the trailhead thankful to be finished and out of the bad weather. Even though it rained a lot, it didn’t dampen the trip too much. I think we all had a really fun time and it was definitely better than sitting in the dorm watching the rain come down all weekend. The scenery was beautiful despite the rain and it felt good to carry my big backpack again. I am looking forward to some more backpacking trips this summer, but I do hope the weather will be a little bit better.  

From the hike on the way out

View Places Hiked in a larger map

1 comment:

  1. Those elk skulls are creepy! I'm glad you didn't happen upon some weird ritual out there at the campsite. Despite the rain, it looks like it was a beautiful hike. I can't wait for you to show me some of those next week!