“I love backpacking. Drop me off at an elevation of 5000 feet with a tent and awesome friends and I am in heaven.”
By adult standards, this trail is long, relentless and difficult. I read that it was constructed by backcountry firefighters….which equates to climbing straight up a hillside instead of long switchbacks. To me, reaching Tuck and Robin Lakes symbolizes the hard work one must commit to in order to stand among amazing alpine views. This particular weekend, we past many slow and exhausted backpackers attempting to make the same journey one steep step at a time.
As I sit and type this up, I could tell you about our amazing camp site seated high up on a ridge, the incredible sunset and sunrise we witnessed, and the brilliant display of meteor showers throughout the night. I would have to detail out the stunning views of Tuck Lake nested inside giant slabs of granite walls and the breathtaking views of high peaks and distant valleys in every direction. I would include a description of the moment I almost kicked my son’s butt because he forgot his hiking boots, as in he arrived at the trailhead only wearing socks, but I will save that for another post. Instead, I want to ditch all the typical trip report stuff (just Google Tuck and Robin Lakes) and focus on the social experience.
I was honored to share this particular August weekend with my son and three great outdoor enjoying friends. To me, this was the best part. As we started down the trail, the pace was slower than normal. The group couldn’t help it. Salmonberries, huckleberries and blueberries were tastefully distracting for the first three miles, along with the beautiful Hyas lake calling to us as we walked through a very humid forest. This was a social trip and we were all more focused on great conversation than keeping to a pacing standard. When the trail finally got down to business and it was time to earn our campsite for the night, we all continued to distract each other with great stories and useless banter.
I have hiked this trail a few times, but it was just more special sharing it with a friend on her first backpacking trip. This is a not typical first time backpacker’s trail as sections are pretty grueling with a loaded overnight pack, but she handled it remarkably. Sitting up on the ridge overlooking the Pacific Crest Trail, Mt. Daniel, Cathedral Rock at sunset was just stunning, but sharing that moment sitting together and sipping on our favorite backcountry beverages was perfect. Yes, sunrise was an outstanding performance at 6000 feet, but I experienced it sitting next to friends enjoying tea and coffee as the sun warmed up our small patch of land. Tuck Lake is such a gorgeous alpine lake but it was so much fun watching my friend swim a few hundred feet to the island on her slow leaking floatie. She topped it off with a proud body building pose with leaky floatie. My son enjoyed swimming in the lake and trying to catch fish and I enjoyed running around with a cape on attempting to get into horizontal flying super hero position.
For two days we laughed, joked, gossiped, swam, dreamed, enjoyed, and relaxed in one of Washington’s most beautiful alpine zones. This is what it is all about and this is why I encourage kids to backpack. The next generation needs experience these exact moments in nature.