Every year, my husband and I try to get at least one longer backpacking trip in. We go on countless day and weekend trips, but we always look forward to that one, week-ish long vacation in which we completely unplug. An opportunity to recharge, relax, and reset, we savor this time each summer, and this year was one for the record books!
Five days of pure serenity. There is absolutely no reception at the area around Mount Jefferson in the amazing Cascade mountain range we backpack and hike through. On day one, we parked at the trailhead at Olallie Lake, a stunning larger lake with Jefferson looming nearby. Thrilled that there were no other cars in the parking area, we set out for a short 2.5 mile hike from the trailhead that led us to a smaller lake where we luckily landed “our” spot, the most amazing site to set up base camp, our home for the next five days.
With the day being ridiculously hot, and the pack in being dusty as hell, we immediately went for a dip in the lake to cool off and wash up from our hike. The water was unseasonably warm (as warm as glacier melt can be!) and felt simply heavenly in the 90+ degree heat. We spent the rest of that first day taking frequent dips in the cool water, and lounging as the sun set over the ridgeline we hiked up and over.
For the next four days, I woke up a few hours before my husband and savored some much needed “me time” before he ambled out of our tent. I adore this time in the morning that is mine; time to be alone and soak in the serenity that surrounds me, the solitude at this lake that temporarily belonged to us.
And so, I spent my mornings doing my own thing. In the early afternoon, we would leave our site for some lovely day hikes. The second day, we hiked along one of the trails in this wilderness area that crosses the Pacific Crest Trail, linking up to the PCT at one point to check out a number of other lakes scattered along these trails. Day three took us back to Olallie Lake, where we hiked the 4 mile loop around the lake, stopping back at our car to pack in some refreshing cold beer, more water, and delicious bratwursts to grill up that evening. Yummmm!
The final full day had me glued to the lakeshore. I stubbornly wanted an entire day doing absolutely nothing. As much as I love exploring this area further, trekking down new trails and splashing in every lake we come across, there is simply nothing like enjoying the peaceful setting at this site we discovered years ago. Easily my favorite location to rush to when I need to get away and recharge, I spent the day swimming, reading, and scribbling away. Then repeated this sequence a million times.
Now settling back into a regular work schedule, it is hard to get back into the routine of things. My head and heart are still planted firmly in my hammock, swaying gently in the breeze coming off the clear, teal water. I’m already longing to be back in that lake, swimming across, exploring the extensive shoreline, snorkeling, and diving into its depths.
I absolutely could not have asked for a better way to spend the 4th of July. I eagerly await the next weekend in which we can head to the mountains, escaping reality if only for a few short days.
Hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday weekend!! 🙂