Ross Lake Part 2: Lightning Creek
Day two of our Ross Lake adventure started off with everyone sleeping in and getting off to a slower start. After Friday's early wake up call, it was pretty nice to enjoy slowly waking up surrounded by water and the sound of boats off in the distance. We packed up as we went, loaded up the boats, this time distributing the weight more evenly between the two, and headed to our next campsite at Lightning Creek.
On the way up the lake, we passed by a waterfall that literally tumbled down a mountain, directly into the lake below. It was kind of hidden in the shadow of the mountain, but as we got closer the scale of it became apparent—such a cool find in such a vast area. It turned out that Lightning was pretty much directly across the lake from the waterfall, so we headed over and started setting up camp near a beach. Some rangers stopped by and made small talk, making sure we knew not to burn wood thicker than a wrist (yep, we knew), and that a forest fire had started north on the lake, but that they were getting everything under control. Yikes!
The boys desperately wanted to head to Devil's Creek so they could jump off the bridge, a Ross Lake tradition. We ate lunch, changed into swim suits and again piled into one boat and headed back down the lake to Devil's. Instead of immediately stopping so that the boys could jump, we decided to head up Devil's. The walls of the canyon surrounding the creek were sheer and the water, so clear that you could see the walls continued straight down. We made it up the creek as far as we could go, tethered the boat to a rock shelf and attempted to make it further up the creek. Eric led the charge and after some maneuvering along the rock wall, he lost his footing and fell. Straight. Down. His hat resurfaced before he did, but as soon as his head popped up smiling, I decided it wasn't worth another fall and made everyone pile back in the boat and head back to the lake.
We stopped at the mouth of the creek, where the Devil's Creek bridge sits. I decided I had no interest in getting in the water, so instead watched everyone else jump in—the boys jumped off the bridge, and Hanna found a nice rock to leap off of. As soon as everyone had jumped and swam around, we hopped back in the boat and headed to Lightning Creek, next to our campsite. Lightning also had a bridge across the mouth of the creek, but no one had any interest in jumping off of this one. As we'd done at Devil's, we decided to see just how far up the creek we could go. This time, we had a much easier time finding a spot to moor the boat and figuring out a way to head up the creek further. It helped that this particular creek wasn't in a canyon with sheer rock walls lining it.
We went up a ways, but then Eric and I decided to head back to the boat and chill out while Hanna, Colin and Owen continued up. I had my camera with me and didn't want to leave it in the boat and didn't want to get in any sticky situations where I could potentially drop it. Eric and I skipped rocks and hung out while we waited for the other folks to get back. It was pretty relaxing—we wanted to try to cross the creek, but the water was freezing (hello, glacial runoff) and too deep to walk across. The rest of the crew wasn't gone very long—it did sound like a good thing that my camera and I stayed behind, though.
Back at camp, Hanna and I grabbed mugs of wine and decided to wade out into the lake and enjoy the last light of the day. Eric and Colin joined us as they pushed a log out and attempted to see who could sit on it the longest. Eventually we got hungry, dried off and sat around the fire. I tried to play with the long exposure on my camera, but was (and still am) getting the hang of it. We had some campfire heart-to-hearts and eventually headed to bed—Hanna decided to cowboy camp on the beach.
Our last day, we woke up and packed pretty early. The boats had to be back at the resort before noon, so we wouldn't be charged a full day to use them. We got everyone loaded into the boats before 10 and then made our way back down the lake. It was a seriously long ride back, but watching the light change as we moved further south was pretty amazing. We quickly returned the boats and got situated at the resort, and decided to take a speedboat across the lake to the trail, rather than hike around again. It took maybe a minute for the boat to cross, which was amazing after the forty five minute hike in. We still had to hike up to the parking lot, which wasn't too bad; the day was just starting to heat up, so we definitely missed the worst of it. Back at the cars, we decided we'd all earned a burger from a little place in Marblemount, so on our merry way we went.
I think Eric is already planning next year's trip.