Friday, May 27, 2011

My Misspent Youth - The backbacking trip - spin

Summer time and the living is easy.

It is even easier for a dozen junior high school students without jobs; without jobs, without cars, without money. Hanging out at each others houses, preferably without supervision. Roaming our small town on our bikes. Hitch hiking to the lake for swimming, sunning, and sleeping. Oh yeah, life was good. Life was very very good. It was every parent's nightmare.

Something had to be done but what?

Road Trip!

Mr Taylor, the youth minister, decided that a backpacking trip in the Mt. Rainier National Forest was just the ticket. 14 miles up to some alpine lakes ought to wear out an active bunch of kids. 5 days of hiking, fishing, and scaring wildlife. 

Gear was obtained. Freeze dried meals were purchased. REI was joined. Boots were broken in. REI dividends were calculated. This was going to be a perfect antidote to summer boredom. (I'm not sure who was bored. We weren't. We were having a great time) How can you not have a great time when your days consisted of hitchhiking (yes, this was our favorite mode of transportation. If we asked any of the stay-at-home parents to drive us anywhere there would have been questions asked as to our intended activities. Questions we really didn't want to answer; such as, who's parents will be there to supervise? You can see where that one would be problematic) to the lake with your inner-tube and swimming all day or taking that same inner-tube to Flaming Geyser Park launching it into the river. 4 hours, much laughing, swimming and innocent flirting later getting out at Green River Park and hitching a ride back home. 

Us, kids were game for a bit of a walk. 
The whole gang loaded up into the Whitmore's van. Mr. Taylor, the youth leader, is on the left and my mom is on right. Dig those sunglasses. I'm the one sitting on top of the van with bare feet and a hat on. 

We started our hike up into the Cascade Mountains on an up note. It wasn't more than 3 or 4 miles into the switchback trail that you could tell the outdoorsy type from the not-so-outdoorsy type. 

Sandy, middle front with striped shirt, had her sleep bag fall off of her pack and roll almost to the bottom of the hill. My mother who was bringing up the rear thought she was going to cry. So mom walked all the way down to fetch it. My mom is like that.

Tim, behind and to the left of Sandy, and Matt, sitting on Tim's shoulders, and I kept up with Mr. Taylor. This meant that we had time to hang the food from a tree to keep the bears out, check out all the cool places around the lake, and generally misbehave (Stick with your strengths, people.) before the others showed up.

My mother woke everyone up in the middle of the night, after that long hike, because she was sure there was a bear outside the camping hut that we were all crammed into. Turns out that bears and chipmunks sound almost the same at 3am. Who knew?

We ate re-constituted scrambled eggs with bees. Something that is not sold at REI. The bees kamikazed into our eggs. Turns out, when you are really hungry, they are delicious. 

We fished for high mountain lake trout. We hiked all around the area. We spun tall tales about bears and mountain lions to scare the fraidy-cats. We bonded even more tightly than we had over the last 3 years. It was great!

If we could all get together again someday it would be a reunion that I would spend a lot of money to get to. Something I really wouldn't do for a high school class reunion because this is the group that I grew up in. This is the group that acceptance never depended on what one wore (obviously! Look at that hat.) or what side of the tracks one lived. And, while there are some in this group that death has ensured that I will never see again I think that I'll try to find them. See if any of them are on Facebook. Maybe, a reunion is in order.

This Reunion spin was brought to you by Jen over at Sprite's Keeper. Go check out all the others who've taken a ride on this ferris wheel. 



  1. So, do bees add a sweet taste to eggs, slightly reminiscent of honey?
    Great Spin, awesome memories, you're linked!

  2. SK: If I remember correctly they just add a bit of crunch.

  3. There are times when I wish I had friends growing up I could look back on with that kind of fondness. Most of my good friends came with college.
    And there is no seasoning quite like hunger and no food tastes better than that which is cooked while camping.

  4. I think that most of my camping adventures were with the family. We may have had church retreats, but they never involved actually sleeping in tents and backpacking.

    Great Spin!

  5. Wow - my camping trips seem boring now.... but seemed like you enjoyed yours!

  6. How bad for you that your mom was doing the wrangling.

  7. That sounds like a lot of fun. My first river canoeing trip was with my high school youth group at church--a year later, I brought my first canoe and haven't been without a canoe and/or kayak for way longer than I would want to confess... Sounds like a great trip.

  8. Ewwwww! You ate the kamikaze bees in your eggs? I don't think I could have done it, no matter how ravenous I was! :)

    We used to do the same kind of trips you did - in the same area. Wouldn't that be funny if we actually have run into each other at some point? Too bad I didn't know you back then - I would have loved to hang out with your gaggle of friends, and I bet my gaggle of friend would have blended right in...bees or no bees. ;)

  9. I love it. It brings back memories of a misguided youth, hitch hiking - not just around town, but across the country with a ticket to see the Dead and less than $10 in my pocket - and hiking and camping! I made two long hike on the Appalachian Trail. One was 100 miles in about a week and the other was 50 miles that we had to bang out in record time because a blizzard struck.

    Thanks for the memories! And by ALL MEANS go have that reunion. Great spin!

  10. I love the pictures! Everyone has such great photographs...that has to be my favorite thing about this spin!

  11. That would be some reunion. Hiking not such a good idea now-a-days. Visiting the same mtn. adult style, totally worth it.
    Aren't you glad the spin is back?!

  12. A reunion is definitely in order! Maybe a reunion hike. Okay,maybe a slightly less strenuous hike. And maybe no bee eggs. Can a vegetarian eat bees?

  13. That sounds like it would make a fantastic reunion. Experiences like that have a way of binding people together despite years and miles.

    And I would have to be absolutely ravenous to eat scrambled egg-bees.

  14. Bleh, bees. Other than that, the trip sounds amazing. It's something to have a group of friends that are so close like that...

    And those feet are pretty clean for being barefoot. Love the hat, you were ass badass then as you are now!

  15. Your mom probably saved your life from those chipmunks. Damned blood thirsty rodents.