I woke up on the 4th of July, not by the alarm clock as planed, but by a chest and face full of toddler vomit.  Toddler vomit, a sure fire plan canceller.  I’m thankful he chose 3AM to begin instead of around 9 when we would have already been on the trail.  Thus, instead of embarking on our three day backcountry excursion, we spent all day Friday with a pukey Drake. 
Saturday morning arrived vomit free.  When we left the house in the wee hours of the morning, we had a plan overnight at a few lakes in the Mt. Zirkle Wilderness.  However, our plans changed when we could not, no matter how hard we tried, drive by Michigan Lakes.  While Snow Lake was still frozen, the two Michigan Lakes were ice free, and most of the trail and camping areas were free of snow.  Instead of taking the trail we knew, we thought we would save ourselves a few hundred feet and start at a different trailhead.  As it would play out, it was a 100% bonehead move.
While the trail was shorter, the way to Michigan Lakes consisted of crossing a snowfield along a ridgeline, and then dropping down into the basin.  Had we not made a last minute decision and had our good map with us, we would not have made the decision to go this way.  Alas, a last minute change of plans put us in a very dangerous situation.  At this point, we should have turned around, but we chose to try to follow a lower elevation ridge line.   The ridge line we found ran out.  We had no option but to descend and try to hit the trail.  In a tenth of a mile we descended approximately 600 feet with fully loaded packs.  Luckily, we ran into the trail on the only place for about a mile that wasn’t a sheer drop…pure luck. 
Exhausted, mentally and physically, we stopped for some snacks and refocus.  After a bit, we made the decision to trudge onward.  Our minds were changed by a family returning to the trailhead.  They made the comment that several tents were at the lake.  Knowing only a few good spots exist up near the lakes, Dustin and I exchanged a knowing look.  As the storm clouds swirled above us, we discussed how we didn’t want to set up in the rain, nor scurry around for a campsite, and possibly not be able to find one.  Campsite selection is a little more important with a toddler in tow.  Alas, we headed back to the car.  Perhaps this weekend just wasn’t meant to be.
Sunday we took to relax.  We needed it.  As for Monday, Dustin had already scheduled Monday for PTO as a recovery day from 3 days in the backcountry.  Since the backcountry plans fizzled out, recovering was not necessary.  Instead we took a short day hike to The Loch in RMNP.  This is such an easy hike to a stunning destination.  Moreover, the lake is full of hungry, willing cutthroat.  We got an extremely late start and were only able to fish for about an hour.  Thankfully, we were rewarded with several fish in the net.    An agreeable end to a wacky weekend. 
Our holiday weekend was a bit of dud, but it is one that we won’t soon forget. 

Written by Stephanie Mullins

1 Comment


It's so nice to see you guys posting a little more lately! What a beautiful trip that was, even it things didn't go as planned. A little hint…they never do.


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