Insanity defined. Repeating a task, and expecting a different outcome. In this case, the error was in my believing the weather forecast. Duh. What was I thinking? Everyone knows what zero chance of rain means. And, a cloudless blue morning sky confirms that zero chance. Right?
It was nice and sunny when I arrived at the trailhead. No reason to hurry, so I leisurely went about sorting gear and loading my pack. This would be my first and maybe only backpack trip of the year. And, depending on the old back, maybe the last, ever. Just an overnighter, I'd try to go as light as possible. First I had to decide what was optional. Rain jacket? Nope, won't need it. Extra socks? What for? Underwear? Nah. My mother wasn't around to make sure that I had a clean pair in case of an accident. Breakfast. Breakfast? Oops, I forgot to pack it.
Ten minutes up the trail I noticed clouds curling over the mountain. They ghosted their way downslope and soon engulfed the valley. The wind that forebodes impending weather kicked in. The lodgepole pines began to sway. Then, it started to rain. Hard. I ducked under a tree, and backed in tight against the trunk, using the tree to fend off the wind and driving rain. I chuckled. Zero chance of rain? Half an hour later it ended. Up the trail I went. My toes squished in formerly waterproof boots. Good thing that I had dry socks....back at the car.
It spat rain on and off. But, the wind that blew the storm in, picked up even more and proceeded to blow it back out. I remained optimistic about the forecast. Up the ridge..... Out of the trees, above timber line, exposed further to the elements. I tightened my cap, leaned into the wind and hastily proceeded up and over the pass. No time to dally and take photos, I waited until I descended a bit downslope where the wind was somewhat tamer.
I stopped at the uppermost lake and poked around looking for a campsite. The wind still howled, and as it was pretty exposed, I dropped further into the basin, passing a few potholes along the way. Not finding anything to my liking, I dropped further yet. I eventually found suitable flat ground and tree cover at a lower lake. After pitching the tent and inflating the air mattress, I took time for a well earned stretch.
Later, I hiked back to upper lake to sample the fishing. I picked my moments, casting between the gusts of wind. Got a half dozen fish. Nine to ten inchers, they were probably two year olds. How they manage to grow at all in that ice cold water is a miracle. Satisfied, I hiked back down to camp, looking for photos along the way.
Back at camp, I set about the evening chores. There was water to boil for reconstituting dinner, and firewood need to be gathered. That done, I fiddled with my camera tripod and watched the sunlight fade from the basin. At 9:30 I crawled into the tent.
Up early the next morning, I waited for the sun to illuminate the surrounding peaks. It was like waiting for ketchup to come out of a bottle. I boiled water for another cup of coffee. And waited.
There. Finally. Sunlight, on Sunlight Peak. I got a few shots, nothing killer. Funny thing, photos never do justice to actually being there.
I broke camp and was on the trail out by nine. Back at the pass, the wind was still blowing hard, so I passed on the photo ops, and went over the top. The sun was shining out in the valley.
It didn't really warm up until the last mile or so of trail. When I got back to the car, my feet were still wet. Well, I knew where to find a dry pair of socks.