Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Snow Peak denied

I built a wheel Sunday morning.

Liza and Maddie are out of town for a week. I'm also off work until the 1st week of January. I always like the idea of these sorts of arrangements, but after a few days, I realize what a creature of routine I really am and I miss the ladies. I also tend to devolve. I drink too much beer. The house crumbles around me. I stay up late watching crappy movies.

So in addition to all that frivolity, Patrick (of Scoop fame) and I decided to take a couple days and go snowshoeing/camping. There's a forest service cabin off of Sherman pass that is about a 6 mile hike to a place called Snow Peak. The cabin is stocked: it's got a wood stove, wood, ax, dishes, etc. We reserved the cabin for last night and tonight.

I will explain to you why I am writing a blog post now instead of what should be Day Two of camping.

In a nutshell: we didn't plan well.

The longer version: we took the wrong initial trail, which put us out about 2 miles. Had we left a few hours earlier, we would have been able to absorb this error. Our second error was no map. We both foolishly assumed that the path to the famed Snow Peak cabin would be obvious. And as we've since learned, it is obvious, once you've been there.

At about 4pm as darkness encroached and snow started to fall, we were forced into a decision. At this point, after snowshoeing up 1000 feet over about 6.5 miles, we were both pretty tired, hungry, and thirsty.

a) Hunker down in a rough shelter (think backyard "fort" made of branches) that was about 100 yards away.

b) Continue down the trail we were on which may or may not lead to the cabin. At this point we thought we may have passed the cabin inadvertantly. Or it was further down this trail.

c) Attempt the walk back to the car.

In actually, we only really evaluated a) and c). Since b) seemed insane. And even more truthfully, I didn't entertain c). My money was on a) -- since we'd already made some rookie errors, I didn't want to gamble the another, and we had everything we need to survive the night in our fort.

So we did. It was cold; about 10F. Our fort held out most of the snow, but not all. And luckily, there was an old tarp in the fort which provided more cover.

That was a long night: 12 hours of cold drowsy spurts of sleep.

Good lessons though. We should've had a much better understanding of the route and timing going into this one.

This picture doesn't show the snowy-frostiness of my gear very well.
I used the trusty Ibex Dash Hybrid for a sleeping pad. I think I prefer more loft.

We had breakfast in Kettle Falls and talked to a couple guys that were on their way up to the area. As it turns out, we were about 2-3 miles away from the cabin. Had we taken option b), we may have made it -- but we may not have seen the cabin in the dark.

We plan on trying again in the spring.

Tomorrow's Bike Nerd Hang is at South Perry Pizza. 5:30pm

In the meantime: think of a place for January hangs that is less beer-centric. I wish the Shop was open later.


Barb Chamberlain said...

How about Coffee Social for a bike hang? They give a 10% discount as a Bicycle Benefits participant and were doing it before we started the BB program here.

I'm checking to see if they have a beer/wine license, since I'm sure you don't want to avoid beer entirely.... They're open late and they have good sandwiches/soup/pasties and KILLER brownies and other baked goods.


Lucas said...

I was going to suggest Coffee Social but I see Barb beat me to it. Good idea Barb!

John Speare said...

I like Coffee Social. And it's pretty perfect. Except, selfishly -- it's too far for my liking. I've got about a 2 hour window of opportunity on bike hang nights. Riding to CS and back would eat up around 45 minutes all up.

Hank Greer said...

I'm glad to see your trip into the mountains turned out better than it did for the Bonner Party.