Years ago my family started a tradition of giving experiences instead of gifts for the holidays. And for the past couple of years it has been a tradition for Kyle and I to take my mom on a little overnight backpacking trip for her Christmas present. Our summer was looking pretty full until recently when Kyle almost cut his finger off with a table saw (another story entirely) and our plans to climb went out the window. Luckily we are adaptive adventurers and when we see an opportunity we seize it. The perfect time to plan our backpacking present for my mom!
With the date in the books and my mom ready to go (well, sort of ready, she would be returning from her annual Wonder Woman backpacking trip the day before we left so we hoped she was ready) we waited on pins and needles for the week of so we could assess the weather forecast. With the summer we have been having (see: cloudy AF) we couldn’t be too careful. And sure enough – our original destination was thrown out when rain was probable and we had to moved our hike east. We hoped it was far enough east. We decided to either head to Robin and Tuck Lakes or Peggy’s Pond. Both trails left from the same trailhead so it was really a matter of making a decision when we got out there.
We left Seattle after a hearty Hawaiian breakfast and a couple of hours later we were pulling up the trailhead. The cars parked on the side of the road started almost a mile away from the trailhead. Kyle panicked as we drove past and almost started backing up in defeat but I insisted we drive to the trailhead proper. You never know what you might find. Sure enough as we drove in we discovered a spot where no one had parked because of a inconveniently grown stump. However, after giving it the once over we determined there was no reason not to park in front of it so we did! The risk paid off.
Now to decide – Robin and Tuck or Peggy’s Pond. Kyle was worried about this one spot on the way to Peggy’s Pond where the traverse gets a little sketchy (my mom is super afraid of heights) and I was worried about the straight up hill nature of Robin and Tuck Lakes. Both of us were worried there wouldn’t be any camping anywhere considering how many cars there were! We settled on Peggy’s Pond, shouldered our packs and set out.
The hike up to the pond is really a walk in the woods. Easy switchbacks gain the ridge and there you cross the PCT. We did run into a guy coming back from Peggy’s Pond who managed to mention “the one scary part” about five times despite Kyle and mine’s grimaces. We didn’t need him hyping mom up before we even got there! From the PCT it is mostly downhill or traversing to the pond and when we got to the sketchy section my mom did great. There was a little bit of scrambling and some down climbing involved but we made it through the twenty foot section, no problem.
At the lake my mom and hung out in the first spot we found while Kyle ran around looking for other options. There were plenty and we relocated to a great open area that he found with an awesome view of the lake. We threw down our packs and glimpsed Mount Daniels, which was only visible occasionally through the clouds which were racing overhead. August in Washington – chilly and overcast.
I was surprised to see my mom pulling on her jacket over the clothes she had worn on the hike. “Mom! Don’t put that layer on until you’ve taken your damp ones off.” She seemed surprised – apparently she was unaware that damp layers, all the way down to you sports bra, will keep you infinitely colder if you don’t take them off, even if you put all the warm layers in the world on top of them. I made her strip down and then we hung all of our wet clothes on my Nite Ize Gearline Organization System which comes complete with lightweight carabiners. A couple minutes later she exclaimed in surprise, “I am so much warmer! That’s a new trick I didn’t know!” This is a woman who backpacks all the time – who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
With our clothes swaying in the breeze we got camp set up and Kyle and I immediately set up our new lightweight camp chairs. I’m not sure what life will be like without them. They are amazing. Next it was time to gather water and drink whiskey and eat snacks. You know, all the normal camp things. By the time we had futzed around for a while it 6:00pm, I put water on to boil for dinner. After we had cooked up some dehydrated meals we enjoyed some hot toddies and my mom taught us how to play a new card game: Lucky.
Lucky turned out to be a great opportunity for Kyle to show us just how unlucky he really is and he lost, over and over again. He swore we weren’t allowed to go to bed until he one at least once. With the heavy clouds and the fading light we were having a hard time seeing the cards (Kyle could not get a win) but luckily I had brought my Nite Ize Nitegem! It changes from one color to another and for a while we played cards at an outdoor rave. As fun as that was it was also fun to pick a color and keep things consistent so Kyle could focus on winning. And win he finally did! We took our little LED light to the tent and turned our tent into a rave before passing out to the sound of rain on our tent. The changing colors followed me into my dreams.
The next morning we woke up to fresh air and fog racing over the pond below us. After a hot breakfast we retrieved the things we had hung on our Gearline the night before and started packing up camp. Our trip unfolded in reverse and I smiled the whole way back to the car. Sometimes, you just need a simple, carefree backpacking trip to fill your tank and ease your worried heart.
Sponsored content: This post was sponsored by Nite Ize – they sent us their Life’s Adventure Kit and on this trip we used the Gearline Organizer and their Nitegem LED Luminary. We loved both and seriously enjoyed what each item brought to our backpacking trip. If you have more questions about Nite Ize or sponsored content in general please reach out and ask: firstname.lastname@example.org! Thank you to Nite Ize for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
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