Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Backpacking, Hiking, Solo, Top Trips

All by myself

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.

Snow Lake. Again.

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.

My lake for the 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.

Snow and Gem from above

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.

Tent Shadows through my tent Loud pika

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.

Mouse in the house

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!

Tent monstarr

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.

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  • Reply Gladie September 26, 2009 at 2:03 am

    Fantastisk – så bra at du våger! Vil bare si at du inspirerer meg kraftig, så nå har jeg tatt grep for å få tilbake formen. Takk for inspirasjon! Du skal ikke se bort fra at du får en telefon om ti års tid med spm om guiding i fjellene der borte ;)

  • Reply Solgunn September 26, 2009 at 5:56 am

    Haha, nå måtte jeg le!! Rompa bar, men pyttsan. Gratulerer med første overnatting på egenhånd! :D. Kan ikke påstå jeg har gjort det mange ganger selv akkurat, og i USA hadde jeg vært skrekkslagen med tanke på bjørner, slanger, edderkopper og jeg vet ikke hva. Synes du er kjempetøff, stå på!!

  • Reply Libby September 26, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Hi Ingunn,

    Your such a brave girl! I do most things happily by myself but don’t know I’d be keen to camp by myself. Well done. I thought you must have at least had your furbabies with you – but it doesn’t appear so. Love the drawing of the mouse and of you in your tent. You should be very proud of yourself.


  • Reply Tracy September 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    That’s awesome – your pics are great! I don’t think I would have the courage to camp by myself, so my hat is off to you! :)

  • Reply Helen September 28, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Ingunn, how brave you are! I think I’d be very twitchy about the whole thing so I’m so impressed – great that you’re getting out and making the most of the beautiful surroundings and weather even when JK can’t join you. Hope they all missed you!

  • Reply Linda Barber September 29, 2009 at 9:22 am

    GO YOU! I’m so super impressed! And that sketch is hilarious. It seemed like a friendly mouse. ;)

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