My husband Dennis and I once again strapped on our backpacks at the urging of Dennis’s sister Cathy. It was Cathy’s first hike in Grizzly country which was a bit of a psychological challenge for her. I’m glad to say she overcame it. We offered Cathy her own (possibly expired) canister of bear spray but she declined afraid that she would be too paralyzed with fear to deploy it. We encountered two guys picking huckleberries (a bear favorite) about a mile up the trail. Their greeting to us was -” These berries are only for personal use only.” I didn’t know there were rules on that. I thought “personal use” was a concern before Washington state legalized marijuana but then we were in the Idaho Panhandle so I guess they have different rules. I think huckleberries sell for $18.00 a pound in the store so perhaps there is some justification for treating berries as a drug.
The backpack was a success meaning we all came back in one piece quite a bit sorer than when we started. Dennis chose the route to Pyramid/Ball Lakes the shortest route he could find to alpine landscape. Our guide book claimed the entire climb was two miles but we know it’s longer. We ran into some people with a GPS and they confirmed our suspicion. Although it lessens our claims to rigorous hiking to admit it the GPS people day hiked to a spot across from our camp on Lower Ball Lake with a baby and two inflatable rafts.
We made up for any lack of muscle with our enthusiasm. We hiked to the furthest Ball Lake which had one campsite on the lake occupied by what I hope were father/daughter campers. “Dad” threw out the welcome mat by suggesting we hike back a quarter mile (more like 1/2 mile) to the smaller Ball lake for our own lakeside campsite.
We were glad we took his advice as we had a beautiful campsite and the lovely high country lake to ourselves. The fish in the lake were jumping all evening and some in the daytime too however they looked like very small trout to my uneducated eye. Sometime after 9am the next morning the GPS group arrived with baby, dog and rafts. We escaped the crowd by hiking up the ridges around the lake. The view all directions was breathtaking.
It was fantastic to be with Cathy she is a botanist and knows most all the plants by their scientific and common names. Even better she can identify the birds by their call. That saves a lot of frustration with the binoculars. Cathy is picking out a backpack for us in the Olympics for next year. I hope it’s very short.