April 23, 2013

Hiking: Packwood Lake or The Hike of Death

The title of this is whichever you prefer, my guess is that you will understand where I am coming from rather quickly.

On Saturday, I talked Brad into going on a hike.  (sometimes I really need to keep my big mouth shut)  We both love getting outdoors, and it would be our first hike of the season.  So as we sat at the kitchen table eating delish orange-cinnamon rolls, we discussed options.  Ultimately I left the decision up to Brad, as I was having difficulty pegging down something with a lower in elevation in order to avoid the snow.

I have the perfect one, he tells me, Packwood Lake.
Hmm...isn't that a ten mile hike, babe? I ask.
Oh, it is a stroll, he assures me.

Innocently I agree because I've never been.  If it truly is flat in and out, I can do a 10 mi walk.  I pack a little lunch for us, and we head out.  Arriving at the trail head, we eat a bit of our lunch and start out.  Brad convinces me to bring an extra coat because it is starting to rain.  We look a bit like penguins as we head out, 4 layers each, but both oh so ready to enjoy some wilderness.

It starts off beautifully enough...waterfalls.

great views....

smiles all around...

And then we hit snow.  A drift in the middle of the trail.  Not too deep on the edges.  We can walk around it or crunch through it no biggie.  But it starts getting more frequent.

AFTER THAT we come across a huge uprooted tree in the middle of the trail.  (Mind you that this was no little thing to duck under or step over, but rather a huge 6 ft high muddy, snowy, tangle of limbs.)  Nervously, Brad helps me over it.  Crisis averted.  A few minutes more go by, I see that the trail ahead no longer has patches of snow with trail between but has turned into a snow drift between 4-5 feet deep.

Brad, maybe we should turn around, I suggest doubtfully.
Susan, I PROMISE that the trail will get better.  This is just a rough patch, he says to me.

4 HOURS LATER!!  We still haven't reached the lake.  We have been slogging in snow drifts in tennis shoes and jeans, which are now soaked through up to the thigh.  A hike once advertised as being a 4-5 hr deal, has turned into....the hike of death.  Twice I have called out to my sweet husband to let him know that we need to turn around, but there is supposedly an "easier trail" from the lake.  By this time, the stroll is more like, step-step-sink-sink-sink-fall up to my hip in snow.  There is no joy, only the sound of my whimpering as I keep wondering why are we doing this.

But minutes roll by and Brad shouts out that he sees the lake!

Unfortunately, my current mental state/attitude does not allow me to enjoy the beauty at all.  This is mostly because I am thinking about pushing a certain someone into the lake. ;)  But I did snap one photo for documentation sake.  He ran around exploring the bridge, building, etc. while I sat rather unhappily on a rock, wishing the nightmare would end.

We did find an easier trail...he was right.  But before we left for the car, he built a little fire so that we could at least warm hands and feet while we rung out our socks/shoes.

We eventually did make it back to the car...8 hrs, numb legs, frozen shoes, jeans-soaked-to-the-thigh, later.   On the hour drive home from the trail head  we decided it would be best if we called take-out Plaza Jalisco.  It was delish, and so were the surprise, I-love-you-Susan, mint oreos Brad produced at the end of the meal.

I'm pretty sure that IF we ever go to Packwood Lake again, it won't be for years, and definitely won't be in the snow.  Are you laughing yet?  I finally am...3 days later. :)

P.S.  I am three months pregnant at this point.  Do you feel bad for me yet?

How about you?  Do you enjoy hiking?  Did my story scare you away from ever trying?  Have you been to Packwood Lake?  


  1. The parentals came down to see us on Saturday and we talked about you guys hiking to Packwood Lake. Mom said she thought there might be snow on the trail as we strolled into a delish meal at Red Lobster. Its a great story though. Ps. packwood lake is really pwnge but not in April

    1. Man, Red Lobster biscuits sound yum about now. Glad you guys had fun, and maybe the next hike will be in June...less chance of snow.

  2. My hubby and I just biked this trail. It was absolutely stunning. The views were spectacular and the lake itself was just beautiful. I couldn't begin to put into words the beauty that I witnessed. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the mosquitoes. I have welts from the feedings. Deet or Off is a must have if coming to this trail when it's sunny and warm. Other than that, I want to make this a destination I come to often.