Friday, August 23, 2013

Cross 2 Ross '13 {Day 2: Copper Creek to Whatcom Camp}

Day 2 departure for an 11 mile trek to Whatcom Camp from the rocky shores of Copper Creek
Day 2 began with an early wake up call at 6AM, but one devout Scout arose each morning half an hour earlier than the crew for quiet prayer, an inspiration to all of us and surely a link to great aid and grace from above in our daily trials.  Community prayer before our daily departures and grace before meals punctuated our daily routine, and we enjoyed ample opportunity for prayer and meditation during the day-long treks.  With the grandeur of creation all around us, our thoughts turned to God quite naturally along the way; severe physical challenges also brought a desire to seek help from above.  Knowing that many at home were lifting us in prayer gave me great solace in trials and extra endurance to push through the pain.
Joseph, Caleb and Peter enjoy a second (or third?) round trip crossing of the Chilliwack River aboard the cable car.
Our second day on the long trail toward Ross Lake offered a recess of sorts.  After a short and relatively easy three mile hike we reached the cable car crossing of the Chilliwack River.  A ladder's climb to the take-off spot required careful negotiation with loaded packs and hiking poles.  Team effort allowed for the safe crossing of all our crew, our gear and a few extra round trips just for the fun of it.  Extra long stops at the center point offered those of us without height phobias to extend our view enjoyment and relax in something resembling a chair for a few extra minutes.  Bouncing was highly discouraged, but oh-so tempting for some lofty travelers.
Peter, powering the cable car over the Chilliwack River with his dad as the sole passenger.

Cable car passenger, treated to a long view-stop right in the middle of the expanse.

Science in motion

Without time constraints, some of us could have spent hours at the cable car crossing.

Joy riding high above the river, hoping to spot spawning salmon (which hadn't reached this area just yet).

Peter and Joseph ~ happy repeat customers

Perhaps a view of Whatcom Glacier through the clouds
A calculated move to reach Whatcom Camp on day 2 rather than stopping at the lower elevation Graybeal Camp meant that a ridiculously strenuous climb to reach Whatcom came in the final miles at the end of a long day's trek.  Another ground wasp attack left Zachary with 3 hits below the knee and subsequently, those of us in the caboose 'sprinted' up a set of three switchbacks to avoid further injuries.  Zachary doubled back to carry my pack on the breakneck uphill race to beat the wasps.  Successfully avoiding a second onslaught, we stopped to administer first aid to Zac's stings on along steep trail in a light mist.
Tim navigates through a giant slide site, attempting to stay on the 'trail'
The final miles of uphill trudging into camp seemed to take forever; the trail endless and brutally steep.  We nearly unanimously recall this particular section of the 50 miles as the most difficult of all.
Reports of high bear activity were confirmed within minutes of our arrival when Enoch met a couple at the water hole who indicated that a bear had been spotted in our campsite a few hours earlier.  A good place for bears to visit indeed, as the blueberries were bountiful.  We kept a clean camp, and took extra precautions with hanging our food and scented stuff before dusk.

First aid stop for sting relief on the steep Brush Creek Trail leading to Whatcom Camp.

Zachary sets up the kitchen, perched under Noah's Tarp at Whatcom Camp.

Judah, Enoch, and Peter set up camp at a rainy Whatcom Camp.
Judah, Enoch, Tim and Peter work together to hang the food out of bears' reach at Whatcom Camp.

About 40-50 pounds of crew food, hanging safely out of bears' reach for the night
Forgetting the strenuous day's journey, a few Scouts ventured out after dinner for an evening stroll to find a nearby lake armed with map, compass and camera.  The lake remained elusive, but the hikers found plenty of extra adventure and sweeping views from lofty heights at nearly sundown.  By the time we called it quits, the moon offered tremendous illumination over Whatcom Peak across the way from camp.  Outrageous beauty, well worth the cost of such a difficult end-of-the-day ascent to camp.
Can you spot Joseph in red and Caleb in orange on their evening stroll?
Peter and Enoch enjoy the evening's entertainment: watching Joseph and Caleb scamper on the rock face.

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