Lake Thirtythree and Fitsum Peak

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Carolyn's introduction to backpacking and John's trips, plus Fitsum Peak was her first mountain.

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My good friends from Wisconsin, Harry (#3 from left) and Carolyn (#6), had been hearing about my adventures (over and over...) for many years, and probably after too much wine had agreed to come on a trip with me. Also in attendance were Jasmine (#5) and Julie (#1, and don't forget it!), and Jerry (#2), a mutual friend who had a slightly sadistic scientific interest in observing Harry and Carolyn under stress.

My father Richard, 75 years old, took the picture. He hiked into the lake with us and then returned to his truck the same day. Jerry's wife, Victoria, stayed home. Victoria, we missed you!

Julie, Jerry, Harry, John, Jasmine, and Carolyn rady for their backpack trip

Our main goal was in taking Carolyn on her first backpacking trip. Our second goal was getting Carolyn up her first peak. Our third goal was to have a great time and be together as a group of friends in a wild setting.

Our first exposure to a wild setting was trying to find the trail to Lake Thirtythree. When thinking about how this trail might look, Carolyn had envisioned something that looked more like a trail.

And perhaps a little flatter.

Jasmine heads to Lake ThirtyThree

From there, things just got worse. The small rocks in the trail seemed a little discouraging at times.

The rocky saddle above Lake ThirtyThree

But true to form, even when faced with adversity such as an adventure with John, Carolyn was smiling. Her smile was so infectious, even Jasmine smiled.

Jasmine and Carolyn

When we finally got to our campsite at the lake, Carolyn was elated. Or maybe it was because she finally got to take her pack off?

Apparently others in our group were less inclined to elation, and were happy just to take their boots off.

The peninsula on Lake ThirtyThree

The rock peninsula was to be our home away from home for the next few days. Not only did the rock retain heat, but it extended out into the winds blowing across the lake, keeping the bugs at bay.

The peninsula on Lake ThirtyThree

John, the guide, made sure everyone found the experience educational. Here he supervises Harry and Jerry after their dishwashing lesson.

Jerry and Harry cook dinner

With six people, we had to pump a lot of water, and using the pump was one of John's lessons. Here Harry is a bit grumpy because we told him he could NOT soak his feet while he pumped.

Harry Spehar pumps water

The next morning, we took off cross-country for Fitsum Peak. There wasn't even a trail today, but it looked a lot like yesterday when there was supposedly a trail.

But more up.

And the rocks in the trail were getting bigger.

Talus hopping, McCall style

After wrapping around the mountain from Thirtythree, we visited another, smaller lake. Then we went up over a ridge and down another one, finally gaining the ridge leading to Fitsum Peak.

More up.

Carolyn Senty

It was hard work, and Carolyn was starting to feel the elevation, but we were nearing the summit.

Near the top of Fitsum Peak

She may be hypoxic, but she's still smiling.

Carolyn scrambles a boulder

And then she was on her first summit...8775'.

Soon after, the rest of the group finally caught up.

Carolyn Senty and Julie Platt on summit of Fitsum Peak

The way up the mountain had been somewhat difficult, so John found an easier way back down.

A shortcut

After our afternoon of hot hiking, we went swimming in the little bay next to our camp. The water was quite refreshing. In fact, after jumping in to mimic her elders, Jasmine's comment on the exhilaration of the water was something like "Holy frigging crap."

Again, the stone held the heat, which we all used to cure our frostbite.

The peninsula on Lake ThirtyThree

All too soon, it was time to head out. Carolyn is a quick study, so she was already at home walking rock ledges with a full pack.

Hiking out from Lake ThirtyThree

It was cool and sunny as we climbed the 400' back up the pass above the lake.

Hiking out from Lake ThirtyThree

We still has some rock climbing to do to cross the pass.

Hiking out from Lake ThirtyThree

And then, finally, the trail back home.

Wait a minute... is this the trail? Well, it's probably around here somewhere.

Mr. Natural Home | 2005 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski