Last night on the peak was incredible. We turned in early, but when I woke up at about 10:45-11:00 the clouds had cleared up and all the mountains in sight were aglow in the moonlight.
Today when we hiked down we stopped at Ireland Lake and Anne swam around in it, then we stopped at Evelyn Lake while Anne swam across it.
I forgot to bring a cup on this expedition, so I had to improvise. I ate my can of Dinty Moore, then wiped it as clean as I could with bread. There was some burned crud on the bottom, so I poured a little water in it and scrapped it out with my fork. Instant cup/bowl. I had a lemon aid snow cone in it last night and a cup of tea in it this morning.
I was thinking today about all of my buddies from Illinois. When Doug gets married next month, every one of them will be tied down to a family and a respectable job. I’m the only one left. The song ‘Freebird’ keeps coming to mind. (“‘Cause I’m as free as a bird, now. And this bird you cannot change. Lord knows it can’t change.”) Kind of a bittersweet feeling. My horizons are wide open and anything can happen. But it probably won’t happen with any of them. Also, I’d like a wife and a family and a nice stable life, too. But not yet. The time isn’t right.
Sunrise on Amelia Earhart Peak was cold and clear. Instant oatmeal and hot tea really hit the spot. I had forgotten to bring a cup, so the empty can from my Dinty Moore Beef Stew dinner worked as a handy substitute. The Whisperlite backpacking stove seemed like the most wonderful invention of all time that morning. The Whisperlite is a one-burner stove that folds down into a very compact package to fit into a backpack. It runs on white gasoline, the same fuel that your typical Coleman camping stove uses. The Whisperlite burns hot and can boil water very quickly.
I think we were ‘peaked out’ by now and ready to head for home. Climbing down never seems to be as fulfilling as climbing up. We retraced our steps down the ridge and then through the talus of the lower slopes.
We reached the basin at the bottom of the mountain and headed up to Ireland Lake. Anne had a splendid goal for her Backcountry season. She wanted to swim across every lake that she encountered. This was going to be her last chance at Ireland Lake on this trip.
As we hiked along the base of Amelia Earhart Peak we hiked up to the snowfield that was still present near the lake. Yes…there was still snow on the ground in July at that altitude! Pink stains marred this particular patch of snow in several places. I had read about pink snow, but this was the first time I had seen it. It was caused by an algae that lived in the snow and grew in the springtime before the snow melted. Most people have heard the warning not to eat yellow snow. One should not eat pink snow, either. Pink snow could cause problems with your digestion.
Anne had anticipated a swim today, so she already wore her swimsuit under her shorts and tank top. She dove in and swam out to the middle of the lake. I dropped my pack to the ground and used it as a lounger as I just took in the incredible day in the mountains.
Photo courtesy of Diane C. Brown
Sunday dinner back at camp is always good after a weekend like that.