In which I describe further adventures in the backcountry, part two

We ride Up and In, and have no Major Mishaps
We arrived at the trailhead around 12:30, and were on the trails with horses fully loaded at 1:30 on a beautifully clear afternoon.

As Sky mentioned in the comments of yesterday's post, we did have adventures on this journey, and because of the intrinsically busy nature of adventures, we don't have photos of them. I will also ease the anxious minds of my readers right this instant by assuring everyone that we really didn't have any interesting adventures at all on Day One. Therefore, I have lots of pictures to share from our journey to camp!

From the parking lot, the clear, sandy trail leads upwards through groves of trees with intricately twisted branches,
...and then onto the Wikiup Plains.

You can hear the sound of the "bear bells" we hung on the horses in the video, over the sound of the wind.

Wikiup seemed to whizz right by, and soon we could see the huge piles of lava rock and obsidian rubble called Rock Mesa.

I was glad we didn't have to go over the mesa--and I'm sure that Fiddle would be even more glad, since she was carrying all the gear (plus me!).

After Rock Mesa, we were suddenly surrounded by green: grass, shrubs, and trees. Even the water was dark green snowmelt, instead of grey-blue from glaciar runoff.

Fiddle wanted to stop and snack on some of this lovely green grass, but Cricket wanted to GO-GO-GO!!! That was a recurring theme for the trip, actually.....

(That sentence right there is an example of a literary device called foreshadowing, which is a hint to readers that, later on, the "GO-GO-GO thing" might be linked to the "Adventure-thing." Not yet, though. So far, it's just a hint, a foreshadow. So far....)

Once it started getting green, we knew we were getting close to the James Creek Shelter.

We knew that there were lots of horses camped at the meadow near the shelter, because we'd met a woman in the parking lot who was headed up there to join friends. We said hello to the horsepeople in the meadow, passed along a message from Kate in the parking lot, and then we continued moving uphill.

Soon we came to the weirdest-looking water-crossing I have seen in many years. It's a pretty poor design, and it looks like it will erode horribly in a few years.

However, it's quite new still and so quite functional. Our horses didn't seem to think it was too strange looking, and they walked right down the sand stairs, over Separation Creek, and up the stairs on the other side.

After Separation Creek, it was obvious that the Northwest Youth Corps had been busily clearing and repairing trails covered by blown-down trees and eroded rocks.

I was impressed with the huge amount of work the crews had done. Apparently, the kids were only a few days ahead of us, so the trails were all freshly cleared. What a delight!

Suddenly, we popped out of the trees and onto Racetrack Meadow.

That's the Middle Sister poking up into the sky, there in the picture. I thought it was North Sister, but Sky reminded me that it is actually the Middle Sister, also known as "Hope." I stand corrected!

First we had to pass Husband Lake, which I thought was the prettiest lake on the whole trip. It was also the buggy-est lake, so we stayed just long enough to take a few pretty pictures, and then we moved along.

The big mountain in this photo is called the South Sister--the mountain called Husband Mountain is behind me as I took this photo.

There was one more obstacle in front of us before we could reach our camp: the Rickety Bridge. After Lytha's mis-adventure with a horse and a bridge, we were loathe to cross this ugly-looking thing.

But we were slow, and careful.....

...and we crossed it safely. Whew! We actually crossed the bridge several times, but never casually. The support structure beneath the battered top boards is still very sound, but the top boards are pretty trashed. I was trying not to invite disaster by envisioning one of those rotton boards crunching away under Fiddle's foot...>>shiver<<

At last, we got to camp!

Sky wrestled with the stove (more about that in later posts, I promise) and I built a fire.

Then, we watched the sun set over Eileen Lake.

Life....well, you know. It's good.


  1. Have to correct Aarene.. sorry Chicken, but in the photo where you say North Sister, it is actually Middle Sister. The Three Sisters are also know as: Faith, Hope and Charity (North, Middle and South). We never made it up to North, but she is in some pictures as a rocky point just flanking Middle on the left side.

  2. Amazing photos. That quirky little land bridge reminds me of the one at Jordan Park I posted about. Yours looks a whole lot friendlier than that that one. Poco might do it, but I suspect Jaz would plant himself. He needs work. He won't cross railroad tracks either. Heck, the other day, I couldn't get him to walk across the driveway!

  3. Dear Aarene,

    I was recently honored to receive a Superior Scribbler Award. One of the privileges of the award is that I get to give the award to five other bloggers. I have selected you as one of my five. Below is the link that provides the official announcement of your award. Congratulations.

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    Here’s where you can read about your award, on my blog. If you accept the award, this will tell you the “rules” of the Superior Scribbler Award.

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  4. Oh, you make me so jealous. I can't even ride a horse but I want to do that... wonderful photos, great story!
    I'm going to use those mountains in my WIP.

    And congratulations on the Blog Award. Ask if it comes with a tiara.

  5. I should't' have been anonymous, it should have been ME. (Last post).

  6. What an adventure! You must be quite adept at riding. I am not. A few years ago, I rode one for about an hour and a half. My legs were so numb by the time I tried to get off, I couldn't stand and almost slid under the horse. I am in awe of your riding and the amazing scenery.

    Straight From Hel

  7. All I have to say is GORGEOUS scenery. Oh, and thanks for letting us ride along and hear the bear bells.


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