It was around 4:30/5am on Friday, July 10 when Dad woke me up stirring around in the tent. Ben, our Ranger, and our crew leader had decided the night before that we would wake up before sunrise and hike a quarter mile or so to a place called “Inspiration Point.” It was Ben’s final morning with us and he fully discussed the “Wilderness Pledge”, (Phimont’s version of LNT) something I really didn’t understand at the time, and wouldn’t fully comprehend for another 5 years.
We sat out at the point until the sun poked it’s head over the horizon and then headed back towards camp to pack things up and eat breakfast. We didn’t have very far to go, maybe 6 miles, to the days final destination. Bear Caves.
We were up and out of there before the staff at Urraca Mesa were even stirring. Making our way up and over the mesa the way we came the previous day, almost back to Lover’s Leap camp, we eventually got headed on a different trail.
We got to Bear Caves before lunch and setup camp, found water and hung out for a bit. The days activities were to be had at a staff camp a few miles away at Crater Lake. We ate lunch and headed off to do some spar pole climbing. Most of the staff camps are set in a certain period in time, with the staffers dressing and playing their part. Obviously, here we have mid to late 1800′s logging era. I wish I had pictures of the staff and of our crew climbing up a the pole. Climbing to the top was no small task and once you made it to the top we were supposed to shout something. Probably something about a hot chick at the time I think. Not really sure. The afternoon was winding down and we headed back to our camp to make dinner and settle in for the evening. I think several members of our crew went back to Crater that evening for advisers coffee and the evenings campfire. I don’t remember going.
The next day we again woke up before the sun was even remotely shining. We had a big day ahead of us. We would summit our first peak. Trail Peak. It was a beating getting up so early two straight days. I had just turned 15 some 10 days before and getting up early wasn’t really my thing. Actually, backpacking was still new to me.
We loaded up and head back towards Crater Lake to eat breakfast and and fill up on water.