Monday, October 19, 2020

Crater Lakes

 After the trip to Diamond Lake, I was bit by the backpacking bug. However, there was no way I was going to be carrying 40+ pounds on my back up big mountains any more. The pack I was using was purchased in 1997, had an external frame, was heavy and didn't really fit any more. The tent weighed almost nine pounds, the camp stove was white gas and weighed almost 4 lbs. Things just needed to change. So, for my birthday, I gave myself a new outfit. 


This is the Osprey Rook 65. Empty, it weighs 3.52 lbs and the sales person at REI helped me get it fitted properly to my torso. I opted for an Osprey, since I have several hydration packs already, and the Rook would allow me to add the hydration pack inside. Having carried it up and down a mountain, I can say it is an exceedingly well balanced pack and balanced the weight very well. I never felt like it was pulling me forward or backward.


I ordered a tent off Amazon, which was on sale for 45% off. It weighs 4 lbs 2 ounces, so just about half of what the one I took last time weighed. It's a bit of a pain to set up, but once you figure that part out, the inside was very spacious. 
This is the best little stove and uses compressed propane, which is super efficient. It weighs less than a lb, with the fuel weighing in at 230 grams. It was about a third of the weight of the stove I carried for my trip to Diamond Lake.
I also updated the water filter. The one I had needs a new filter and they don't make them any more.
I really liked this one, especially since it came with a connector that will hook directly into my hydration bladder. It was quick and efficient. 
I also decided that my hiking companion could carry her own stuff.
The pack fit pretty good and she didn't seem to mind it at all. She carried a down blanket, her fleece lined Dover jacket and some freeze-dried dog food (and holy fuck is that expensive). The pack weighed 5 lbs fully filled.

I also changed the inflatable sleeping pad I had, thinking that the lighter weight one would work just as well (bad choice), packed a single hammock instead of the double, and didn't bring any Dr Pepper. The pack with the hydration pack filled to one liter and carrying 24 ounces of gatorade, weighed 33 pounds. I brought a light weight winter jacket (down filled that could compress), a micro-fleece top, a long sleeved shirt, thermal leggings, one pair of socks and one pair of underwear. I don't think I could lose any more weight when doing three season camping (fall night time temps) but I could have left the hammock. Since I think one of the only real reasons to camp is to be able to lay in my hammock, I don't think I would be making that decision.
Tonya and I, with Bernie (her dog) and Skittle (my dog) headed out early on Saturday. We got on trail about 10 am, and I was feeling pretty strong. We had pre-hiked the trail the weekend before and knew where the trail markers were and what to expect. The mental preparedness helps a lot when backpacking.
Skittle's only issue with her pack was the sides sticking out more than she was expecting.
She was pretty proud of herself for carrying her own stuff with her.

I was really much more excited that it appears.
I felt strong and determined.

 The first trail marker one mile in.

Most of the trail was about like this.

It is a beautiful hike, but parts can be very challenging.

This would be the more challenging part. One of them.

One of our many breaks. Skittle isn't about the selfie.

This is the second mile. Lots of ankle breakers. Not horribly steep.

Getting closer to the end of the hike. It's a nice overlook to take a break and rest.

Skittle was happy to rest against me. 
Before we really started climbing, we got the dogs down to the creek and let them splash and drink. 

My trusty companion just before licking the inside of my nose.
She has the fastest tongue in the west.

Crested the top of the trail. 3.2 miles with 1000 feet of elevation gain.

My tent, which I am very happy with. It was more than enough for me and Skittle and is big enough to accommodate two adults, if that ever happens again.

Really gorgeous pair of lakes. 10,900 ft high.
Took us 4.5 hours to get there. 3.5 hours of hiking and about an hour of rest breaks.

Just before sunset.

Definitely worth the hike.

Skittle loved her blankie and her jacket

Bernie snuggled into a down filled vest brought just for him.

She will lay anywhere I put her blanket.
So, I made a strategic mistake. I used T's inflatable pad instead of my hammock pad due to weight. What I didn't recognize was the hammock pad has "wings" and was insulated. The new pad was not. Both Skittle and I were cold, even with the fleece jacket on her. I finally had to pull her against my chest, then cover her with all of my extra clothes to get her warm. I won't make that mistake again.

Skittle suited up and ready to go.
It was 37 degrees and we could feel the storm coming in, so we headed out.

Ready to head out. 

Part of the trail I got a pic of going down. The last mile up is hard, but the last half mile is a son of a bitch. 

We hiked straight through, without stopping for a break. There were a couple of times where Tonya had to wait for me due to my careful approach to anything that might break me (loose rocks, steep steps) and Skittle was patient too. It was just as well we made it in one long hike because it was spitting rain mixed with snow as we hit the parking lot.

Two hours down. It snowed pretty good on Sunday afternoon. I'm glad I didn't have to try the rocks wet.
My recovery was much better after this trip. I drank better and ate better both going up and in camp. And I just think my body had started to adapt to the work, even after just a couple of trips. we were hoping to do one more adventure, but between the weather and all of the other craziness happening this month, I think I will have to wait until next spring. 



  1. Im loving these new wilderness adventures! There must be a better option than expensive freeze dried dog food?

    1. It was pretty fun. I can't wait for next year.

  2. that looks like a fabulous trip.

  3. What a great adventure! Sorry to hear about the sleeping pad - sleeping cold is never fun. Really lovely views though!

  4. It looks like you have great gear!

  5. That is awesome! I'm so glad you treated yourself to new gear, here's to more adventures!


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