After my plans to participate in the STP fell apart, I planned a family backpack trip. A week before the trip, I found out that my niece and nephew were heading out to Seattle and wanted to come backpacking with us. I think I was the most excited for this trip. I love introducing new people, especially children, to backpacking and hanging out in the outdoors. I immediately went out and bought each of them a backpack and sleeping bag. I spent Friday evening packing everybody’s backpacks. Jonathan and I each had to carry a tent this time and I had fishing poles where I normally carry ice axes. So different than my normal gear packing.
After monitoring forecasts, we decided to head to the Cle Elum area. The original plan was to hike to Pete Lake. However, after more consideration, we decided to look for a shorter hike for the kids. We chose Hyas Lake. We followed the directions to get to the trailhead. The last road to the trailhead called for 15 miles. 15 rough country miles at twenty miles per hour. After an hour on this road, we arrived at mile 9 only to find a 18 foot high creek running through the middle of the road spanning about twenty feet. We were so bummed.
After turning around and heading back down the mountain (for another hour). We headed to another trail. Finally at 6:00 at night, we were finally at the trailhead and ready to start hiking. The kids were really excited to finally start hiking. We hiked along the Cooper river. The views were really cool. Although the kids were not complaining, I was worried about the time it was going to take to eventually get to camp and the kids had not eaten dinner yet. After reading some data on my phone, I realized this trail will end up crossing a road before getting to the campground. Bummer! or nice save! While the kids stopped for a small break, Jonathan and I talked about the idea of turning around and driving to the campsite. As late as it was and wanting the kids spirits high, we turned around and headed back to the car.
We arrived at Owhi Campground at 7 pm. and followed the trail along Cooper Lake (which filters into Cooper River). Eventually we found a great campsite. The kids were so excited to camp right at the lake. They were begging to start fishing even though the sun was disappearing behind the mountains. Jonathan and Cousin S quickly put up the tents while J-Hawk and Cousin A went down to the lake shore and rinsed out the bowls before dinner. Rosabell and I began cooking dinner.
After a very welcomed bowl of Macaroni and Cheese and beef jerky, Jonathan started a campfire and the kids played with glow sticks in the dark. I was very happy that we salvaged the day and the kids were still excited to be camping. Around 11, each of the kids made their way to their tent and passed out.
Around 8 am, each of the kids woke up. I cooked oatmeal and everyone enjoyed watching the sun warm up our campsite while they ate. We broke camp soon after breakfast. We promised the kids that we would go find a fishing spot soon after the tents and sleeping bags were packed up. The campsite was cleaned up so fast.
We threw on our packs and headed out on the trail to find a good fishing spot. About a half mile down the trail, we found our own little kid fishing perch. Jonathan attached bobbers and fish stuff to the rods and each of the kids took turns learning how to cast and fish. It was really neat to watch the excitement in their eyes as they successfully learned to cast their own line. We spent about four hours fishing, playing in the cold alpine lake and hanging out. For lunch, we ate peanut butter and honey totillas and trail mix.
Around 2 pm, we had to call it a day. The kids pleaded for more time fishing and begged for another day of camping. I felt so bad that we couldn’t hang out more as well. We headed back to the car dirty and tired…..great weekend.