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Lakes Basin 2007 Trip

Day 2 of 4

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Friday, August 31st
Failed attempt on Haskell Peak

Salmon Creek

Friday morning we woke up to partly cloudy skies. Hoping that the sun would win out eventually, we made the short drive to the Haskell Peak trailhead. The trailhead is just off Forest Service Road 9, about 8.5 miles in from Gold Lake Highway. We passed some loggers and some cows on the easily driven dirt road.

It was noon by the time we finally got started on the trail, where a sign says it's 2 miles to Haskell Peak. The book I had said it was 3 miles round trip, but the sign and a map I had both said 4 miles round trip. I tend to believe the book may be out of date and that 4 miles is probably correct. However, I can't say based on experience because we never made it to the top.

Just about a third of the way up (it's about 1100 feet of climbing to the top), we started to hear some loud noises. After pausing to make sure it wasn't the loggers, we confirmed it was the sound of distant thunder. Just as we decided to turn around, we felt our first rain drops. As we headed further downhill, the skies opened up and the rain came crashing down, with thunder pounding our ears.

At least we were in the relative safety of a dense forest, so I figured our chances of getting hit by lighting were somewhat diminished. But with 2 kids there was no thought of trying to wait it out. It didn't help that we realized we hadn't put the rain fly on our tent back at our camp.

After about 10 minutes, the rain stopped and we actually passed a pair of hikers coming uphill, soaked but undeterred. We had no thoughts of heading back up, even though the sun was now shining and it looked like it might clear up. So, unfortunately I have no report on the supposedly great views from the top. I don't even have any pictures to share with you, since the start of the hike is unremarkable.

I was, of course, disappointed. But with over 225 hikes, I guess there are bound to be a few unsuccessful hikes. Only a couple come to mind offhand, Mt. Whitney and Echo Peak. But this was less disappointing since we didn't get very far. And in any case I had come in with the realization that there was a good chance we wouldn't make it to the top, rain or no rain, since Nathan had never hiked more than 2.2 miles by himself. If I had known for sure that it was 4 miles and not 3, I wouldn't have even bothered trying.

We returned to our car and drove down to our camp site where we found that it looked like it hadn't rained at all. Still, we decided to put the rain fly on anyway. And it's a good thing that we did, since it started to rain while we were still in the process of staking it down. By the time we were done, it was pouring rain. Another reason not to regret turning around from our hike.

We then drove 5 minutes down the road to the store at Bassett's Station for some bottled water (since the camp water was questionable) and refreshments. By the time we returned to camp, the sky was clearing and the campground was filling up. By the time we went to sleep that night it was noticeably cooler and the campground was nearly full, but at least the skies were clear. We also appreciated the fact that the sites at Salmon Creek are well-spaced, so we never felt crowded by any of our neighbors.

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