Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Snow in the Cascades, Sun in the Gulf Islands

Fall colors in the forest
Fall made its shivery entrance into my bones this weekend by visiting SNOW upon me during my much-anticipated three-day backpacking trip to Horsehoe Basin in the Pasayten Wilderness.

No amount of layers or meditation ("You are lying on a sunny beach in Zihuatenejo, Mexico; it is 90 degrees. You are lying on a..etc etc".) could keep me warm in my super high-tech but NOT WARM ENOUGH, DAMN IT Big Agnes sleeping bag.

Dave and I both squeezed into my sleeping bag a couple times, which warmed me up but was ultimately unsustainable as a way to actually sleep. So he heroically let me sleep in his bag at six in the morning, and after I added a layer of rain pants on top of my soft-shell pants and long underwear; after I added another shirt underneath my polypro top, my fleece jacket, and my down jacket, then, and only then, did I warm up enough to fall asleep for two hours. (Let's not forget the two pairs of socks, two pairs of gloves, and two hats I was also wearing).

In Horseshoe Basin
So I hightailed it out of there after only one night - even though the trip was planned for three, and it's a five-hour drive to get there (well, seven hours if you take bad advice on which way to go, which I did on the way there!) But at least I did get to see the desolately beautiful Horseshoe Basin, high and mighty at 7000 feet, especially rugged as snow and wind alternated with sun.

Before that I had a nice bit of summer on Gabriola Island (in British Columbia), and then sea kayaking in the Gulf Islands with Gabriola Sea Kayaking. Naturally the weather was beautiful until the morning we were supposed to set off in our kayaks, when pouring rain and gale force winds delayed our launch. But then it cleared up nicely. I'll write a little more about that trip soon, when the sensations have fully returned to my limbs. For now, here is a photo or two.

Blackberry Point, Valdez Island