After a good solid season of hiking it was time to get a nice overnight backpacking trip under Auden's belt. We have done the Chain Lakes loop before, and new right away we wanted to do a backpacking trip here. It's an 8mi loop, and our destination of Hayes Lake resides right about in the middle.
We got a nice early start and headed up through the saddle of Table Mtn. and Mt. Herman. The weather was a bit cold, but not too bad. Upon arriving at the lake we quickly learned a VERY valuable lesson when it comes to backpacking. GET THERE EARLY! We were one of the first to arrive, but as we rounded the north east corner of the lake you could see the backpackers start to show up and scouring for a camping spot. Last time we were there we had eyed a nice spot right on the lake, and luckily we managed to snag it!
We had some lunch, and decided to head over to another smaller lake for some fishing. Now here is where dad gets the fail of the trip. Somewhere along the way of life I acquired a telescoping fishing rod/reel combo. I'm not exactly new to fishing, but in hind-sight I don't remember ever actually using that rod. It became quickly apparent that the reel was a tremendous pile of junk and with even the best casting techniques we weren't getting anywhere. He kept great spirits, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with myself. Why didn't I try it all out at home?! Lesson learned, and I vowed to have that remedied by the next trip.
Our meals were compliments of Mountain House that evening. Auden got quite a kick out of it, and in the morning found out that the biscuits and gravy were going to be a long time favorite of his. We spent the evening playing cards, and just talking about life. It doesn't get any better than that for me. On the way to the Lake we stopped at the Forest Service station, and as per a previous promise, picked out a book to read that night. He picked out Funny Trail Tales by Amy Kelley Hoitsma. This provided hours of laughter! I had to substitute some of the words for that which is more child appropriate, but any story that involves "poop" is a huge hit in an 8yo boy's world, lol. He slept perfectly that night in his Kelty Little Tree 20 sleeping bag. While I'm not overly impressed with the compression abilities of the bag it definitely kept him quite warm in his long underwear down below freezing.
We were both a bit slow to get out of the tent the next morning as the temps had dropped a fair amount, and the weather wasn't all that great. The return trip yielded no issues, and it was a wonderful feeling to know your kid had no problems at all staying in the back-country. Despite the huge fishing fail we had an incredible trip, and I'm excited to know it's only the first of many to come!