Monday, August 28, 2006


The wife, the child, and I hike from White River campground to Glacier Basin. The view of The Mountain from this basin is spectacular: forest, meadow, river, rock, basalt cliffs, sun, puffs of clouds that assemble and spin and quickly dissipate. We thank God for being here to see this because we almost didn't make it.

First, we are not hikers by nature. The wife would most likely rather not, and I engage in the activity far too infrequently. Second, the wife was battling a cold. Third, I am horribly out of shape and was carrying the child in a backpack. Fourth, sleep was fitful for all of us last night.

Last night, after gathering walking sticks from the riverbed, and then going through bedtime rituals, we all went to bed at the same time. The child was not going to sleep in a strange place—the tent—by herself. The wife and the child were sleeping in their individual sleeping bags on an air mattress, while I was sleeping in my sleeping bag in the "trench" next to it. The child is an "active" sleeper. This was compounded by any movement by the wife, which would propel the child about due to the weight difference. Therefore, the child was often propelled into the trench and onto me. At one point, the child even crawled down to curl up at my feet, whereupon I placed her back into her sleeping bag. The decision was made that the air mattress would only serve one night of duty.

Today, our slow pace, fatigue, and various aches and pains meant that our seven mile round-trip hike, with an overall ascent of 1640 feet in elevation, took much longer than a fit, less encumbered hiker could do the same. We did make it, however. Then we enjoyed our lunch and hiked back—most of it downhill—with much less effort. Overall, it was a great experience and the first hike of the child, some of which she did actually walk.

It made our dinner of steak, corn on the cob, and roasted vegetables that much better. The only thing missing was a good beer!

Tonight, the child is more comfortable with the idea of sleeping in the tent. This allows the wife and I to stay up slightly later than her to enjoy the fire and the company of one another, under the canopies of hemlocks and summer stars. We also know there is no air mattress this evening to hinder sleep.

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