My husband and I decided to spend the 4th of July weekend at Big Creek. Not to go backpacking as we usually do, but just to hang out. Spending the night over 5000 feet elevation is a good way to get acclimated to hiking in higher altitudes, so we would be getting some “work” done, but the overall goal was to relax. 

The prior weekend, I’d taken my niece out camping and backpacking. That was a super fun trip, but it was also very tiring for me. Not only was I leading a trip (which I’ve done before), I was also shepherding someone who had never done anything quite like this before. Even though she’s camped before, the campsites she’s been at are not like the remote ones that I took her to in Idaho. 

And so I was ready for a break. A time when I didn’t have to take on all the responsibilities for making sure camp was running smoothly. A time when I didn’t need to drive OR cook! 

I was still in charge of setting up the tent, but it’s different when I don’t have to drive AND set up the tent. Though we didn’t even do a tent on Friday night, when we stopped at the Trout Creek campground so we wouldn’t have to finish the drive to Big Creek in the dark. I was in charge of spreading out the tarp and laying out the car camping sleeping pads for that stop. 

We had made reservations for one dinner at Big Creek, on Saturday night. I am so glad we only did one night for dinner, because dinners at the Big Creek Lodge are generous and I am simply not used to eating that much at once. We ended up saving a big chunk of food (I may have eaten more dinner than Ambrose…). The thought was that we’d eat it overnight, but the nights were only like 50 degrees. Nowhere near cold enough to need such a substantial midnight snack. We ended up eating our leftovers for dinner on Sunday, so that worked out. 

On Sunday morning, we drove out along Smith Creek Road to see if we could make it to the cutoff trail. Well, we wouldn’t have been able to if two guests at the lodge hadn’t come driving up in their side by side. They had a chainsaw! So when logs were across the road, they got that machine going and Ambrose and I helped move the logs once they were cut. It was kind of fun. I guess we really ought to invest in a chainsaw soon. 

Once we made it to the cutoff trail, Ambrose and I hiked up it to check out the Werdenhoff Mine. We’ve hiked up there before, but always with heavy packs, so we hadn’t taken the time to look around before. It was pretty neat to see all that old machinery. The cutoff trail was in pretty good shape. I counted six downed trees, and only one was hard to get around. 

That took us the entire morning, and then we hung out for the afternoon, just relaxing as the weather threatened more rain. Monday morning, we got breakfast and drove home. All in all, a very relaxing weekend. Even the traffic on the way home wasn’t bad, just a bit of a snag at Cascade where the main road was occupied by a parade. 

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