Pika-Fir Trail, July 6 and
7, 2003 2.5 miles 200 ft each way
This was, by design, a very casual trip. Roger was going
to take his kids (Jessica, 6, and Peter, 4) backpacking for the first
time. He had picked an especially easy hike for them, a trail
into Pika and Fir Lakes. These small tarns (perhaps 5 acres each)
are on the edge of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness area. Fir Lake
at trail's end was less than a mile from the trailhead. The road
getting there was a bit rough. That presented no problem for Roger's
4X4 "rig," but would have been a challenge for my little Honda Civic "trail
car." The Jefferson and Sisters area are loaded with small lakes,
many of them isolated even from trails,
offering intense experiences for the solitude seeking traveler.
Here's a shot of the kids at the start of the
hike. The cowboy hats were the result of a business trip to Texas
that Roger took. Jessica insisted on taking a stuffed bunny, "Carrots."
Peter had a similar critter in his pack.
This is Fir Lake. There was a fisherman's
trail all around the lake leading to good camp spots. There were
numerous fish rising late in the evening, again making me wish I had
taken a small fishing rod along. For years I've avoided this,
telling friends that I wasn't old enough to fish. However, I may
now be old enough.
(Roger photo) My extra activity for this trip
was some radio gear. Roger and I managed to get a reasonable antenna
up after we got to camp, after Roger got a tent up for the kids and himself.
This was the little transceiver I used for the trip.
In a 2x5x7 inch box, the rig weighs just over 1 pound and produces
an output of 1 watt. The antenna was an inverted V up about 25
feet and the battery was a 1.2 A-Hr sealed lead-acid type. I was
again reminded of a lesson learned years ago: The "Deet" type misquote
repellent that is so effective at suppressing the action of the bugs also
reacts strongly with paints and plastics. I had put the stuff on
my hands and face, which were all that I had exposed for the hike.
But the traditional yellow wood pencil immediately got sticky. I
also found that a small plastic clipboard was altered by the Deet, as was
the plastic part of an electronic keyer paddle. But the most dramatic
effect was that on my ears. The foam pads on the headphones reacted
to leave a stain. It all washed off after we returned home.
The ham activity was a lot of fun with some
really interesting contacts. I worked KJ6CA, W6UMP, KD7JKA,
WA7TQK, KB7SIK, and W6XF. Although I could hear him, we could not
pull off a contact with a friend at home, Mark, KI7N. It's
always reassuring when operating in the woods to again experience really
(Roger photo) Here's Grampa, Pete,
and Jessica at breakfast. We had a good fire ring, but didn't
use it. With the dry conditions, we elected to do all our cooking
on a small stove.
Our hike out was uneventful, although Peter
got tired toward the end. But all in all, the kids did great.
They are used to hiking in the woods near their house and this
just added a bit of stuff in a pack. Next trip we will have to throw
in a bit of elevation gain.