Today Little and I got back from a backpacking trip on the Chain Lakes trail in Mt. Baker Wilderness. Spending alone time with Little is a superspecial experience and it's a shame we don't do it more often.
We started off in thick fog and misty rain. Little tried to sled for a while but the weather made that kind of yuck. We started the hike, Little carrying all of our clothes and her own sleeping bag. She was determined to be tough and to be "impressive" to anybody we met on the trail. Being a gloppy weekday, that was nobody pretty much. But it was gorgeous and so fun to be with such a determined little girl.
Little trying to get a good view of a marmot.
About a mile in we crested a pass and found a huge snow/ice drift on the other side. Little thought it was awesome and loved crunching it with her boots, but I... well, I forgot my boots. So I did it in sandals.
Little grabbed the camera and got a rare picture of me!
We had wide-ranging discussions the whole time, with barely a pause for breath. Little wanted to know all about how trails are made, how old she would have to be before people stopped being impressed with her hiking, what red snow is, etc.
We hiked to a lake called Iceberg Lake. It was appropriately named. Little thought the icebergs were extra awesome and we spent a lot of time talking about how they were made. She wanted desperately to ride one.
It rained off and on all day.
After getting to our camp we explored for 3-4 hours. This ice shelf was pretty cool:
But mostly Little wanted to hike back to Iceberg Lake to see if we could find a way for her to ride one. Alas, they were in too-deep water to get to them.
Little schemes up wilder and wilder mechanisms for getting out to ride on the icebergs.
Back at our lake [Hayes Lake] we spent a long time drawing in the mud in the rain. Little wanted to learn all about geography and especially the continental divide, so we drew maps and stuff. And a big eye ball. Little was so intent on the drawing that she didn't realize she was a couple inches from a 40-foot fall behind her.
We saw an Osprey fishing all around our lake. We followed it around the lake for a while. I don't have a bird lens anymore so there was no way to get cool pictures of it, but we had a ton of fun trying to figure out where the Osprey would try to catch a fish next.
Little helped me set up camp:
The osprey finally caught a fish right in the little inlet that Little though it would.
Later in the day we saw not one but two independent father/daughter pairs on the other end of the lake, after seeing basically nobody all day. Little was absolutely possessed with going to meet them. As we hiked over to see them I discovered that her real interest in meeting them was to find out how old the girls were to see if they threatened her in impressiveness. They turned out to be several years older than her, a fact that Little keeps on insisting I put in the blog.
On the way back from meeting the girls we decided to walk along the shore of the lake instead of the trail. Little was up in front and I was composing a picture when she pointed...
...and said, "there's the osprey!" After catching that fish it had landed on a rock next to the shore and was almost done eating when we found it. It was super cool to see up close, but we couldn't find any fish heads or anything cool like that.
We spent about 3 hours that night talking in bed.
We talked about: what my life was like when I was her age, stories from when I was a kid, sex [she had a hard time wrapping her mind around why Mommy and Daddy might want to "practice" [a term she made up] when we aren't trying to have another baby], mortality [lots of sweet tears about death], the practicalities of terraforming and injury. Little just never stops talking and when I actually have the patience to engage her it turns into a deeply rewarding conversation. I wish I could have saved that whole conversation for posterity, it was ultra-sweet.
The next day Little volunteered to carry about 5 extra pounds. It didn't last long but she carried 15-ish pounds up a couple hills.
We ended up running into Sophie, a girl we had met the night before. She and her dad were hiking out and they took a picture of us as we crested the last pass.
As we departed, Little reminded me to mention that Sophie is 9, which means that Little is still "impressive."