So my wife’s family had this tradition well before I ever came along, where my brother-in-law and my father-in-law would meet up with “Uncle Timbo” and his son for a camping/backpacking trip. It usually happens in Yosemite, or Stanislaus, or the Emigrant Wilderness, and it has become, since Erik and I joined the party, into quite the affair.
This time we wanted to get deeper into the Emigrant Wilderness, so we went in on horseback. First things first, 15 miles on a horse traveling at roughly 3 miles per hour – terrible! It felt like my nether-regions had gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson and that vicious uppercut he had. It was bad. Also, turns out I’m allergic to horses. So that was awesome, too.
But we arrived, bruised and a little beaten, but ready to start the actual camping part of the journey. We set up camp, built a fire, and did what we do on every man trip – we talked. We played cards. We ate freeze-dried food that is really only edible when you’re stranded in the wilderness. It was wonderful.
The next morning, after an absolutely awful night sleep, we walked around Deer Lake looking for some good cliff jumping. We found some okay spots, roughly 25 feet or so, so we did some flips and hung out for a while before coming back for lunch. On the way back to the campsite, we found a horse that had run away from his camp the night before. We took him back to camp and named him Bilbo Baggins. He was a good horse.
We spent the rest of the day throwing knives, climbing, and playing bocci-rock (basically just bocci ball but with rocks – clever, I know). These camp games are some of my favorite parts of backpacking.
On Sunday we had a little prayer and bible study time and then we hiked up to Long Lake, but it was too shallow for any decent fishing or jumping. Still, the 5 hour hiking trip was a great time to explore more of the forest and to get deeper still into the beautiful country.
While at Long Lake, we found this cool old dam that must have been a hundred years old. The valve was rusted shut and it was leaking like crazy, but still seemed to be doing its job.
Finally, on Monday morning, it was time to leave. We packed up camp and were ready to go by 9, but our guides out didn’t arrive until about 10:40, which gave us just enough time to squeeze in one last game of bocci-rock – which I did NOT win – before it was time to hop back on the horses and head out. 5 hours later, we were at the car. A quick “bath” in the creek and then a short 7 hour car ride home.
All in all, bruised bonch and allergies aside, it was a great trip and, like all of the ones before it, something I will remember forever. Now I just need to make some sons to bring with me.