We Join this Mosquito-Infested Weekend Already in Progress

Barry and I headed for the mountains right after work last weekend to go backpacking along a trail that loops the peak of Mt. Adams.  We planned a short, two-night trip: night one in the campsite at the trail head, night two on Crystal Lake - 12 miles away and just a bit off the marked trail according to the maps we consulted.  On day two, by the time we'd hiked the 12 or so miles into the lake's vicinity, I was exhausted and ready to set up camp for the night.  The last mile or so of the hike had been pretty brutal with swarms of attacking mosquitoes.  Unable to find our way to the lake (Barry could have found it, I'm sure, if I'd had the energy to follow him) and covered in bites, we finally gave in and abandoned the idea of sleeping near the lake.  We hiked back in the direction we'd come for a mile or two and (after I'd cried a few tears that I didn't let Barry see) we set up our tent in the middle of what turned out to be a beautiful mountainside meadow with a gorgeous view of the Mt. Adam's peak.  The mosquitoes by that point were relentless, though, so there wasn't much to do but hunker down in the tent, eat granola bars, and read (note to self: if the book that you're in the middle of happens to be a hard-bound, 400 page book at the time you're going on a backpacking trip, start a new, shorter paperback).  I fell asleep by 7, slept fitfully due to a sore body and gnawed up skin, and woke up to a gorgeous sky full of blazing stars. I went back to sleep until the next morning to find the mosquitoes still at it.  We packed up camp faster than we've ever done, forgoing our morning coffee to head back to our starting point.  I'd felt pretty desperate the night before but found myself renewed by the amazing views of the surrounding mountain peaks and the beautiful lines of the trees around us, many of which had been scarred by a fire in the recent past.  By the time Barry and I got back to our car, all of the horrible (truly, truly horrible) feelings I'd had about our trip the night before were erased.  With a clear mind and happily aching legs, we took off for Hood River (a beer at Pfriem is always a nice way to end a weekend in the mountains).  The lingering mosquito bites this week made us come to the realization that it's time to spend a weekend in good old Portland.

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