The morning was cold. Very cold. The inside of the tent was dusted in frozen condensation. The thought of leaving our sleeping bags seemed absurd and we both agreed to stay here forever. However, things never go to plan and the urge to pee was the driving force behind us getting out of our sleeping bags after all. Once that was accomplished I set my eyes on coffee. Lora and I ventured into the shelter and started the process of melting snow for the water we’d need for breakfast. The offerings included oatmeal, pop tarts and of course, starbucks! (sorta, instant coffee!)
The next step was admiring the views we had. It was an incredibly clear morning with brilliant views all around. The frozen lake went on forever, the snowbanks around the lake seemed like pillows you could fall into. The snow itself was frozen and could be walked on as easily as pavement in a city. We felt humbled, more so we felt accomplished.
We started to break down camp, digging up our tent was a chore as the stakes had frozen overnight and chipping away at the frozen snow was slow going. We then discussed the plan, which was to hike to Taylor Meadows and make camp for night two. There was an old Ranger’s trail we could follow that cut through the lush forest and ended behind a storage Cabin deep in the woods.
And we’re off! Retracing our steps from the day before, we approaches the first climb and tackled it with ease. The hike continued along the ridge as we made our way to the junction. The ranger trail was not very well marked, but a single track of skis gave us a trail to follow! This continued on for just over an hour as we weaved our way through the dense forest. Slowly, we broke through the evergreen jungle and emerged into the most beautiful snowy meadow..Almost there!
We reached the cabin at last! We were eager to get our sleeping bags out and start drying them as they were saturated from the condensation during the night by the lake. As we made our way towards the cabin, we noticed it was not as well kept as the previous one. Upon further inspection…it was locked! Fortunately, this turned out to be the storage cabin for the parks Rangers, so off we went AGAIN, looking for the other shelter.
We wondered in and out of trees, amazed by the solitude we stumbled into. Black Tusk was covered in snow and creeks could be heard several feet below, raging underneath us. We finally approached the shelter, throwing down our packs and pulling out all our gear to dry.
I started surveying the surrounding area, looking for a suitable spot for our tent while Lora made a compacted trail that lead to the outhouse (priorities!)
The night slowly crept upon us as we laid back and enjoyed the sunset. Dinner was another generous serving of refried beans and rice, with hot cocoa to wash it down. This evening, unlike the night before, we saw several night skiers approach the cabin and then set off for some other adventure into the night. We wondered what they were doing while we ate, but before long it was silent again.
We retreated back to our tent and quickly got ready for bed. Comfortable in our quilts, sleep came easy..
Stay tuned.. Did we survive?! Find out in THE FINAL CHAPTER!