So there it was, all planned out... I had two days off (and a weekend) between jobs, and everything in place for my son and I to do a 4-day, 40 mile backpacking trip. My last day at Corillian was last Wednesday, so I staid up late into the night packing all our gear, putting dried food into little plastic bags, trying to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. Thursday morning, we got the whole family up way to early so that my wife could drop us off at Santiam pass for the 4 day trip to Ollalie Lake, heading North on the Pacific Crest Trail over Three Finger Jack, Jefferson Park, and finally down into the Ollalie Lake Scenic Area.
Alas, 'twas not to be. As we were heading up Hwy. 22 toward the pass, all set for an early start, about 5 miles this side of Detroit the alternator in my Durango went completely dead with no warning. Very exciting. The better voltage fell to exactly jack, the radio shut off, lights went out, etc. Big fun. Luckily we made it into Detroit, where there is both food and cell coverage, but once the car was off it was dead as a post.
Apparently there just aren't that many tow trucks working Hwy. 22, especially ones that can take a 4WD vehicle and four passengers (plus a small dog). Between that, and actually getting the car fixed in Mill City, we lost the entire day. There's no way we could have made 15 miles a day to do it in 3 days, since 10 was a stretch as it was. Crap. We ended up just going home, and retooling for a new plan.
So, they 4 day hike became a three day hike, and we decided to focus on what would have been the end of the route, around Ollalie Lake. We (re)set out Friday morning and started hiking South from Ollalie Butte around noon. Many fine sights awaited us along the way.
We camped for the night at Upper Lake, just off the PCT, and got up the next morning to keep heading South.
This was a great opportunity to try out some new gear, and it all worked fabulously. My new pack, a ULA Catalyst, was a joy, as was the new tent, Tarptent Rainshadow 2. Also a big success was my new quilt, a "No Sniveller" down quilt from Jacks'R'Better. Between those upgrades, and some other careful choices, I think I got my total pack weight to under 35 lbs., which is soooo much nicer than the 60+ lbs. I used to carry. I'm still in the "transition" to ultralight backpacking, so I've got plenty of room for improvement. I also have to carry a fair amount of extra stuff for the kid(s) since they can't carry quite as much. My son's new Golite Gust also worked very well.
The one big problem was that I have apparently lost the ability to sleep on the ground. Something to do with the aging process, no doubt. We brought old fashioned closed-cell foam pads, and it was hell. In fact, I slept so poorly (plenty warm enough though) that we decided to trim the 3 day hike down to a 2 day hike, and just truck on out the second day. This went pretty well, although made for a few more miles than the boy appreciated. :)
We went around the East side of Monon lake, then the West side of Ollalie lake to get back to the car.
Not quite the trip I'd planned, but it worked out well none the less, and a good time was had by all (except possibly the frog, who was a bit harassed).