Since I had already gone on my first solo hike and my first backpacking trip without JK this summer, I decided it was time to break another barrier – backpacking all alone. Dun dun DUN. To kill the suspense right away, I’ll reveal that I did not get eaten by a bear.
I wanted to go somewhere I had been before (with a short hike in in case I freaked out and wanted to run back home), so I decided on Gem Lake by Snoqualmie Pass – it’s a very popular hike, but I figured it wouldn’t be too crowded on a Tuesday night.
It did not in any way feel like the autumnal equinox when I started hiking, the sun was out in full force and hot enough (80’s!) to make me appreciate the shady bits of the trail. I passed a bunch of dayhikers (but no backpackers) and made it to Gem in exactly 2.5 hours, which is pretty good for me with a full pack – the pumpkin spice bread carbo load the night before must have worked its magic.
It was windy as all hell by the lake, which made it really difficult to set my tent up; various bits and pieces kept trying to blow away and the poles were bending all over the place. I ended up trying a couple different campsites before finding one that was sheltered enough for me to erect my lovely abode without major failage.
I spent the afternoon swimming, hiking up Wright Mountain, lazing around by the lake, reading and watching a colorless sunset. Another person had arrived and was camped on the opposite side of the lake, but I was far enough away to feel like I was all alone. The night was uneventful except for a fat little mouse running straight into my tent – I didn’t get a photo but drew a very lifelike (and most excellent if I do say so myself) sketch of the incident in my journal so JK could see it.
I thought I would be nervous sleeping out there alone, but I guess I’m so used to backpacking at this point that it just feels like home. Huzzah!
After more swimming and reading the next day, I reluctantly had to head back to civilization. At some point during the journey the middle seam of my shorts had ripped, so I had to hike the whole way back with my butt hanging out – my apologies to anyone walking behind me that day.