Monday, July 18, 2016
Day 34: Mile 765 to Upper Lagunitas Campground
Brilliant reds and pinks lit the morning sky as though it was on fire. I thought of the old saying, "Red sky at night, sailors' delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning." Sure enough, within a few minutes the drizzle began.
Grrrrr! The unmistakable growling roar of a Stihl chainsaw alerted us that it is firewood cutting season. We proceed cautiously. A friendly family was sawing a downed tree into fireplace lengths before loading them onto the back of their waiting pickup. It was not yet eight in the morning, but the truck was already half full.
You know you are a hiker when you get excited at the prospect of running water, garbage cans, and a vault toilet. We stopped briefly at the Lake Hopewell Campground to enjoy these luxuries, as well as views of Lake Hopewell, a small blue lake nestled in an aspen ringed meadow. Noticing two grayish white horses that reminded me of my niece's former horse, we chatted with their owners, a nice couple from Indiana who is spending the summer traveling and horseback riding in New Mexico and Colorado.
The sun peered out from behind the gray clouds, tentatively at first, then asserting its command over the day, albeit temporarily. Later in the afternoon, the clouds came back with a vengeance, starting with a low rumble but quickly dominating with a slow, deafening roar. Flashes of lightning dashed on the ridge. As we huddled in a small grove of fir trees to layer up, I thought of the many times I have read Patricia Polacco's Thunder Cake to my students during similar storms back home.
We hustled past the blackened remains of a lightning scarred tree as we listened to the thunder of the storm behind us. Below the rocky cliffs lay a deep green grassy canyon, one side lined with dark green firs, the other dotted with aspens.
Glancing over my shoulder as we climbed from the Lagunitas Lakes to the Upper Lagunitas Campground, I hurried my steps. A grey sheet of rain completely obscured the ridge behind us. Before we reached the abandoned campground, buckets of rain began dumping, quickly soaking us. Although I could not find the promised vault toilets and picnic tables were scarce, we quickly set up our tent in the most sheltered spot we could find and pulled all of our gear inside.
Posted by Heather and Sierra at 9:30 PM