Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Uhh Avana? Moose.

My doppelganger Kate and I share strikingly similar good looks, but there are quite a few things that we don’t have in common. For example, Kate has an almost obnoxious ability to over plan.

“Julie, do you want to go into town?”

"Yeah that sounds like a good plan."

“Ok, before or after dinner?” Kate says.

“I don’t know, why don’t we just see what’s for dinner tonight, then decide?”

Kate hesitantly remarks, “Um, okay… so if you want to eat at the pavilion, do you want to stay and eat it here? Or take it along and eat at the park? And when we get into town do you want to go to A or B first? Then, am I going to drive or are you?”

Kate helping me with the dirty deed of washing my overalls

Kate may call this quality that I possess an obnoxious inability to commit to plans, but I call it being flexible and able to accommodate the unexpected. NOLS would call it tolerance for adversity.

This quality of flexibility had an opportunity to shine in all its glory this weekend. Avana and I have been tentatively planning a back packing trip for a couple weeks. By tentatively, I mean we talked about it a month ago, but there was no plan as far as destination, food, or gear.

We were planning on leaving Sunday morning. Saturday night found me surfing the internet with Bligh looking at online forums for different hikes in RMNP and Pingree. I gave Avana a call and said I had a couple ideas of where we should go.

Now Avana isn’t the same caliber of over-planner as Kate is, but she, like Kate, feels more settled with having a plan, not one written in stone, but one that is at least written.

With this in mind, I headed to Avana's and laid the maps out on the table. This is what I’m thinking. I explained in detail all our options. We could start here, or there. We could take Stormy Pass or go back through Lost Lake… The advantage of camping here is this… the disadvantage of going this way is that… we could end up here and shuttle cars or make a loop. Blah Blah Blah. Lots of room for change of plans, but none the less, we had a plan, a loose one.

Avana and I set out early Sunday morning and met at the Signal Mountain trail head. After a cup of mate and a few pre-trip self timer pics, we set off with springs in our feet and excitement in our hearts.

The beautiful view coming out of tree line

I caught Avana mid-sneeze

At the summit!

This video accurately captures how windy it was 80% of the trip

Tasty baguette made by Alisha with salami and cheese for lunch

We hiked all day, stopping for lunch and only changing our initial plans once. We decided to camp at Lost Lake since it would set us up for a nice hike to Hagues in the morning. After preparing a delicious dinner of mini penne fried in butter with sautéed mushrooms, fresh rosemary and tomatoes, we settled in for the night with a cup of hot tea.

US Boundary. Ok Ok, Bligh, the boundary ISN'T a line like on the quad map, but it is pretty close. These boundary markers were about every 20 feet.

We were both awoken in the night by a sound that was both comforting and unsettling. The sound of rain. I love the way the rain sounds on the tent, the feeling of being warm and dry in your sleeping bag, the smell of wet ground. I love it all. But the idea of packing a wet tent and hiking in the rain left the Lord’s Prayer resounding in my head. I can’t change the rain, and we’re hiking back tomorrow no matter what. Another moment of finding comfort in the uncomfortable.

We awoke in the early a.m. to beautiful blue skies with isolated patches of gray clouds. We begun to pack up camp, make tea and talk about where the day was going to take us.

I was looking at Avana one minute carrying on about how I thought we should change our travel plans, then turned 180 degrees to find myself staring directly at a large female moose. All of about ten feet away.

It was like this moose just teleported herself there, it didn’t make a peep, out of no where she found herself right in the middle of our camp.

Avana kept carrying on, and all I could muster was, “Uhh, Avana? Moose. Moose. Moose. Moose. Moose.”

“Lets get in the tent.” I said. The two of us lurked in to the tent, quickly zipping up the vestibule and peeked out the window. Suppressing our childish giggles of excitement and fear, we watched as the female moose strolled past our camp, shortly followed by the larger male moose.

Avana and I didn't summit Hagues, but when we do the victory will be that much sweeter. We had an amazing hike back, going right up and over the back side of Sugarloaf, avoiding about 4 miles of back tracking. I impressed Avana with my map reading skills and have successfully convinced her that I'm a badass. At least I have her fooled ;)

I want to thank Avana for a beautiful weekend together. The first of many. We dubbed this the Moosketeer's First Annual Backpacking Trip. Maybe the ones to come will be more well planned, maybe Kate will even come along and we can find the balance between over planning and flying by the seats of our pants.


Regardless if the direction we are actually headed is the direction we are intending to travel, we are going to right way.


At September 8, 2010 at 1:05 PM , Blogger K. said...

okay there are plenty of good things about me, slacker. hating on my need to plan. pshah. ;)

At September 8, 2010 at 2:24 PM , Blogger Mass Specubation said...

AH!!! Avana mentioned you went backpacking the other night, she praised your map-reading and cooking expertise! But she left out the moose, AH! THAT'S SO COOL!

Ohhh my heart hurts missing you, but I'm so glad I still get to see a little window through a very well-written dialogue on your life.


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