Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cross 2 Ross {Day 4: Beaver Pass to Big Beaver on Ross Lake}

Caleb's picture, featuring Zac and the old growth along Big Beaver Trail

Waking up in the pre-bug hours, we were all hoping to get outta dodge before the impending flying pestilence activation.  As crew leader, Joseph attempted to enlist his younger brother in an important camp chore at daybreak, "Peter, I have a very important task for you... are you ready?  Go wake up Zac!"  Apparently not up to the monumental challenge, Peter replied, "No, that's your job as crew chief."
Science of natural destruction
With 14 miles to log and Ross Lake waiting, we departed Beaver Pass Camp in bursts, bright and early as planned.  Some spirits higher than others, but each one of us set out determined to reach Ross Lake in time for an afternoon bath swim.  Our first unplanned stop along the route involved climbing over a downed tree and staying a while to study the scene of the fall.  It appeared that the cascading tree hit another with such force that it snapped in half, shattered and crashed to the ground in a "v" formation.  We saw hundreds of fallen and broken trees over the miles, but this one especially captured our attention with its powerful story sketched on the forest floor.
A close-up look at the impact zone; apparently the force of the fall cracked the giant tree in half
The ten mile section of trail along Big Beaver brought us into a wonderland of old growth trees, a few of which just couldn't be passed by without a visit.  The guys attempted to measure the base of one old growth cedar tree, and it topped out beyond the 35' mark.  The forest floor was littered with tiny brown and green toads.  Another wasp attack forced a first aid stop on a bridge to treat Judah's first and Caleb's 5th or 6th.  Only Enoch remained un-stung.
Just another trail-side attraction (near 39 Mile Camp)
Joseph on water filtration duty at lunch stop along Big Beaver Trail
Pure fun on the pier at Ross Lake's Beaver Pass Camp
The sight of Ross Lake gave us great joy, which we experienced in waves as the 14 mile hike took longer for some (me) that for others.  Judah selflessly added about an hour to his day's hike to double back and offer me a hand for the final stretch.  Although the guys assisted me on most approaches during the 50 miler, this one seemed especially meaningful, as Judah barely caught a glimpse of Ross Lake before turning around in a generous effort to be helpful.
Tim and me, captured by Zac from the pier at Beaver Pass Camp on Ross Lake
Ross Lake offered a refreshing, cleansing break from the ordinary day's end routine.  The tiny fish swarming around the pier nibbled on us as we swam.  A few in the massive school did not escape the clever fish catching contraptions rigged up by the boys and these unlucky ones were fried up for dessert.
Sunshine after a refreshing swim
Ross Lake: a fine reward after 42 miles and 4 days on the trails
Back at camp after his swim, Zachary noticed a small forest fire in the hills across the lake.  With Great Grandpa Tony's binoculars, he zoomed in on the site and studied the situation.  A fellow camper strolling along on a firewood gathering mission mentioned that the rangers were aware of the fire, and described it as a 'smoldering fire, not of concern to campers.'  Thankful for that bit of news, the fire still captured our attention, especially at dusk when its bright red flames could be seen illuminating the dark sky.
A smouldering forest fire burning away across Ross Lake from our campsite
Zac's bedroom at Big Beaver Camp
Another satisfying supper featuring freeze dried vittles was followed by the (optional) fish fry, and rounded out with fellowship around the campfire and a raspberry-crumble-fest.  Various antics employed to collect and haul firewood resulted in at least one minor injury, but the general mood around camp on this final night could best be described as joyful and pleasant.
Caleb and Joseph in the kitchen at Big Beaver Camp on Ross Lake
First dessert (optional)

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