Friday, August 23, 2013

Cross 2 Ross '13 {Day 1: Hannegan Pass to Copper Creek}

Zac, me, Tim, Caleb, Peter, Joseph, Judah and Enoch at our Hannegan Pass departure for Cross to Ross 2013
Our 6AM departure for Cross to Ross (C2R'13) came early, especially considering that half of the guys on our crew recently returned from various international mission trips and scholastic adventures: Judah from Zambia; Caleb from Nicaragua; Zachary from Germany.  But this BSA high adventure trek, in the works and on the calendar for the better part of a year, has been so highly anticipated that the hour of departure was a cause for celebration rather than consternation, despite the oh-so-early alarms.

All of our preparations and planning finally paid off, and the journey began in earnest with a bumpy, windy 5.2 mile stretch on a mountain road with Mr. B at the helm of his good old 15 passenger van.   Mr. B's shuttle to our departure and Mr. H's pick up at the end of our trek meant we did not have to leave any cars parked for days at the trail heads.
In lieu of sweeping panoramic vistas, we spotted a phenomenal rainbow reaching out from the rainclouds above.
Enoch, Peter, Judah, Zac, Caleb, Joseph and Tim at the one-mile mark
With pack covers on to guard against the sprinkles, the guys head toward Copper Creek Camp; a 7 mile journey.
The early 'gentle climb' gave way to a more grueling stretch, but before long we had ascended Hannegan Pass and stopped for our day one lunch break featuring salami and mozzarella chunks, with freshly picked wild mountain blueberries for dessert.  In those first few miles of our 50 mile trek, the two most sensitive to stings (Joseph and Tim) took the first of many yellow jacket 'hits' each suffering three stings below the knees and requiring topical salves and Benadryl tabs before lunch.  My Eagle Scout back-trekked to meet me along the final ascent to our first break at Whatcom Camp and carried my pack for a stretch, a habit soon emulated by Judah, Joseph and Enoch, who regularly aided my approaches.
Harvesting dessert, the boys pick away at the delicious blueberries along the trail.
Alternating between pounding rocky trails with sweeping valleys of endless wildflowers and winding woodsy trails with the occasional fallen tree to negotiate, we reached our designated campsite at Copper Creek before 3PM.  Soaking my sore feet in the icy creek, I missed the side show featuring Caleb attempting to ascend to a hilltop kybo (outdoor toilet) along a very steep off-trail 'route' on a timed challenge with Peter at the stopwatch.  Unfortunately for Caleb, the wasps scored the victory, stinging him five times below the knee.  Caleb's descent to flee the wasps was apparently very impressive.  I was called in to administer the salve and heard the play by play from a few different angles during the first aid session.
Zac and Joseph check the map at the entrance to North Cascades National Park.
Tim and Zac set up camp along the banks of Copper Creek.
Peter and Enoch scope out the water supply and look for the best area to hang our bear bags.
The Copper Creek campsite we claimed could rightly be deemed 'intermediates only,' given its hilly terrain and tricky creek access for water collection/filtration.  But the kybo (latrine) would easily earn a double diamond 'experts only' rating.  Steeper than an old fashioned playground slide, and about as long as a double escalator ride, the 'trail' to the toilet required proper footwear and a hiking pole or two.  This rugged loo was certainly not constructed for use by the faint of heart or anyone with altitude issues.
Burn ban lifted; fire building season begins
Enoch at the campfire on night one
A Mountain House (freeze dried) feast followed by a simple campfire rounded out day one of our five day adventure.  Most of us were sound asleep and cozy in our sleeping bags by 9PM, with one exception ~ our Eagle Scout ~ whose ultra light sleeping system did not measure up to the expected degrees of comfort.  Zachary's first night, therefore, was less than optimal in his hammock with foam pad, liner and bivy sack, but he survived.

Day 2: Copper Creek to Whatcom Camp follows.

1 comment:

dccdmom said...

I don't think Connor will be doing that trip anytime soon. Too many wasps for his epi-pen!