Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 3, Part 1: Daggett- the Beginning

Now we move ahead to the solid – meaty part of the journey. This is where boys become men. Girls become men. We are all very manly in the sense that NO one will give up OR ask for directions. And the lone voice who said “we should really pack a lunch” was quickly silenced, shrugged off, and replaced with trail mix and beef jerky.

Yes, this is the story of Daggett Peak. How we came, saw, and conquered the behemoth.

Part 1: The Beginning

Now, as I left you a day earlier, whacking balls and tossing back brews…

There was of course the breathtaking drive out of Utah, into a small sliver of Wyoming, and right back into Utah. We took note of the lovely amber fields of grain… or in this case, the dried up fields of those huge wind-propeller alternate energy-providing creepy-as-all-hell even in the daylight THINGS. They were impressive to say the least.

But who cares about the Empire State sized spinner wheelie things; it was a car drive, a means to an end.

As we rolled up the mountains and into the trees – the car spit up so much red dust we might as well have been driving to Mars. As all great camping destinations do, Spirit Lake revealed itself through the maelstrom – and it was nothing short of spectacular. The deep blues and silvers of the lake’s surface lazily reclined off to the right as we rolled along. It seemed as if the lake was very excited to see us, but was playing cool like mountain lakes do – not giving away too much of herself.

We made no game of showing our excitement – leaping out to choose the best tent-pitching areas. The crisp air was far colder than I remembered, which was perfectly wonderful. Danny and I are excellent campers – we had our new home set up within minutes and it was off to the lake for a fish!

Fishing Spirit Lake is like floating closer to heaven – albeit with troves more mosquitoes and frozen hands – but that is just the way the lake welcomes you. You have to love the fact that you can’t feel a mosquito biting you when you are numb from the cold. We bask in utter silence, hearing only the chirps of squirrels and the soft plops of bobbers dropping into the water. I admit that when Danny goes back with his first catch – I enjoy singing “Fishing with John” to myself, rocking to the lazy melody and hoping for my own fish.

We decide that once night falls and we have both lost feeling in our feet, that it is time to bid the lake “Good evening, oh flawless one!” and head back to de-frost around the fire.

The whole family has arrived now. The fire is booming, the food and beers are flowing! We see that Brinn has found a most perfect niche in between five trees for his tent and he has built a small paradise inside. Nice.

We unload our green and red fold-up chairs and sit down for a brew. Danny smokes his catch directly in the fire – a tiger trout! It is too delicious, and I tell the fish thank you for the great dinner.

I remember Todd saying something about being determined to hike the Peak tomorrow, and I say “I’m in!” as my head starts to swirl… I see a world of Bud Light, flames, and some freaky curtain that could only have been the inside of my eyelids… then the most horrible headache I could ever imagine sets in.

I flash back to a similar sensation I felt while laying in a pup tent at 12,000 ft in Yosemite last spring with Janine… she shoved a cliff bar down my throat and told me to sleep – altitude sickness! What a BUST! I knew it. I scarfed a cliff bar, downed a bottle of vitamin water, and excused myself to bed.

Danny helped me get to bed and I was SO cold and it HURT and AHHHH!! I finally fell into a crazy person’s sleep – trying to relax between the head-pounding pain, nausea, and the wild banana fairies. ICK! Somehow I made it through till morning.

Little did I know that this was only the beginning…

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