It was around 4.30pm when Christian announced that we had made it approximately 1/4 of the distance up the trail during our first 3 hours of hiking. I was discouraged to say the least, and a bit worried. Would we make it up before dark? At least we had done most of the elevation gain. We decided that it was time to start carrying N. The trail had been tricky for her so far - narrow with (for us) waist-high shrubbery and many fallen logs. N likes to hold our hand, and the narrow trail made that challenging for her and us. The (for her) face-high branches to push through didn't help (although we did bring pruners and the non-N-supervising parent did some trail work as we hiked). The rest of the way we alternated between Christian carrying N on his shoulders for the steeper sections and one of us holding her hand while she hiked on the flatter sections; both of which are hard when you are already carrying a big backpack. Luckily, F was bouncing along and the trail gradually became easier for us, although both Christian and I were huffing and puffing up the hills. Just before 7pm we saw the lake through the trees - needless to say we were pretty happy. The West side of the lake already had a reasonable number of tents, so we headed to the North side. At this time the mosquitoes were out in swarms. Again I doubted whether or not the trip was a good idea. The kids started rearranging the sand in the little river flowing through the meadow right away, while Christian and I got busy setting up camp and cooking dinner. We almost managed to get the little kids fed and in bed before it was completely dark. Christian and F stayed up for a later dinner, sitting on the big rock looking over the lake, having some quality daddy - daughter time, and discovering caddisfly larvae.
Sunday morning Christian headed out to get some peak bagging done. I have not managed to do a trip where I got to go to the top of a new mountain for a few years, so we were both excited. Christian managed to get to the top of both Saxiofrage and Cassiope and back to camp before noon. The kids were so busy making mud pies at the lake that they barely had time to eat, so I even got to do a little bit of reading. After lunch it was my turn. I had not been out scrambling since our bike tour in Europe two years ago, so I was feeling a little timid to begin with. I was second guess my navigational choices a lot and my footing didn't seem as secure as it used to, but as I made my way up the ridge of Cassiope I started to get into the groove of things. I enjoyed the easy scrambling and the nice views, and I didn't see anyone else up there. On the way down I took the SW ridge instead of returning to the col just north or the peak. The way down was a bit longer, but a fun ridge with easy boulder hopping. At camp I found the kids having just returned from a blueberry picking mission. They excitedly told me about the vast quantities of blueberries they had consumed.
A dinner time the mosquitoes returned, so Christian and I ate our dinner while pacing around, the kids didn't seem to mind though. This evening we managed a more reasonable bed time. Monday morning we packed up right away and headed out. The hike out ended up taking more time than the way out. It still felt faster because I was not worried about not making it or it getting dark. I hiked with F most of the time. It was great to get some quality time with her. We played a lot of word games on the way and had a lot of good laughs. She has come such a long way since last summer, and hiking with her now is pure joy. Back at the logging road we filled up on thimbleberries before starting the long drive back. Turned out the trip was a good idea after all.
Say Nuth Khaw Yum
Discovery Islands Bike loop
East Coast Trail
Recent tips and thought
Pandemic pondering and wandering
Tweaking our haul-a-day
Making kids crampons
Digging a snowcave
Make a kid towing harness