I spent nearly every 4th of July I can remember at my aunt’s beach house in Narragansett, RI. We’d arrive mid-morning, and the cousins would go to the beach and we’d try to get there before all the CT tourists. After a few hours, we’d walk back and have some sort of frozen drink with Grandma, who “didn’t realize it had alcohol!” (miss you every day, Gram). Then, at some point in the mid-afternoon, lunch would be ready (but who are we kidding, we ate all day), and it was usually a huge clambake/cookout, with shellfish, crab salad, burgers and dogs, salads, you name it. Followed by dessert, of course. When my grandfather was alive, we celebrated with birthday cake, and then we’d hang out until it was time for fireworks.
2017 is second year that I was going to miss on account of being across the country (Dallas in 2016), and it was the first 4th of July without either grandparent. In an attempt to take in nature, which was my grandmother’s favorite thing, we went on a hike. Or we tried to, at least.
Louboutini thought going to Blue Lake, a more challenging hike than Diablo Lake, would be fun, and Sandwich actually met up with us on time, so we were getting an early start. We’d have plenty of time to tackle the rated-hard hike, and time for a beer at what we three believe to be the best brewery in upper WA state. After driving for the requisite 1.5 hours, we realized that we had about another hour to go…not exactly what we’d planned.
Not exactly what we wanted to see in the parking lot.
The last hour was essentially a 6,000 foot climb over a rutted, potholed road barely wide enough for Louboutini’s truck. The map said we’d only a little more to go, but I started to get nervous. “Louboutini,” I said. “There’s snow on the ground. There’s been snow for the last 20 minutes. And it keeps getting snowier.”
1.5′ of snow at the base of the trail…not looking good.
We managed to make it to what looked like a parking lot, and began the hike. After a good 500 yards, I found the trailhead sign: it was poking out of 18 inches of snow. “Oh, this is the parking lot,” said Sandwich. Not only was the sign snow, but so was the parking lot. where we had parked was actually just where the snow had melted enough to clear part of the road – but we could go no further. Shrug…we were there for a purpose, and off we went.
After about a half mile of following the trail, which was really just footprints in the snow, we came to a fork in the paths. We took the left path, and after another half mile, ended up at a very, very dead end. The maps were not working, and we turned back to the fork. We started to take the right trail, and after about 30 minutes of trying to figure out where the footprint-trails went, we ran into a couple that was attempting to go the way we’d just come. We told them, and then they told us that the way we were going was a 3-prong fork in the trails, and they lead to dead ends as well.
Sunglasses, tank top, two feet of snow.
“But what about that big group I saw at the parking lot?” I asked. “Oh, we ran into them, they went a different way and that’s a dead end too. They were on their way back too.”
“Freaking snow in July!” exclaimed Sandwich. He’s a good Texan boy, and snow is totally not his element. We all turned back and headed to the trail we thought would take us back to the truck. When we got there, we decided we definitely needed to stop at Birdsview. So much for Blue Lake, but at least we got beer. (And a pretty nice view. )