Family Vacations, Summer 1997
The Tenderfoot's Almanac
When that one became old hat, my wife and I led the way on ever longer and more exotic walks. In the opposite direction, away from civilization, is Stair Rock, into which CCC workers chipped steps during the Depression and from which we jumped into bottomless, sapphire water. Next was the hike to The Lookout on a back trail that gains 400 feet of altitude and provides a breathless, bird's-eye view. It can get hot at The Lookout; we had to bring water and share it in the scented cedar shade.
When the girls were old enough to carry small backpacks and walk for half a day, we packed lunches and struck out for The Inlet, where the river that filled the lake pooled and warmed on pink feldspar sand.
Some of the sites we discovered we named ourselves in acts of ownership and pure celebration. Others, like Cleopatra's Bath, are actually on the map. Cleo's is a kind of graduation hike, a full three miles from the cabin up an indistinct trail. I pulled the map out when the girls were maybe eight and ten years old, and we made the connection between that granite dome over there and these nesting lines on the page. We got semi-lost. We bushwhacked. We inched along cracks in the rock above the creek. (I began carrying a piece of rope when I realized the girls had no fear of falling.)
When at last we clambered up the final pitch and beheld the glistening pools, it was as if we were the first to discover them, we full-grown trampers in the wilderness.