Hiking to Lake Ingalls: Prayer and A little help from our friends

20200821_100855We did our annual backpacking trip with the Robinson’s this year to Lake Ingalls.  We were planning on the Ozette Triangle, but it was closed.  Then, we were looking at a hike close to Mt. Baker, but the forecast was for rain.  Instead, we drove into Central Washington to avoid the inclement weather and found a highly rated hike to Lake Ingalls.  It’s actually on the other side of the Enchantments.

Our hike started off well enough, but for some reason Tenille’s blood sugar was low and she could not increase it no matter how much sugar she ate.  Sometimes that happens.  Our bodies are mysterious machines with a million things happening inside, and sometimes they can be unpredictable… About half way through the 5 mile hike, we had to separate from the group.  We were concerned that all the camping spots might get taken, and so an advanced crew trekked ahead while Tenille and I went at a pace that her blood sugar allowed her to go. 

20200820_160445As we neared the top, we saw Kay coming back down the road.  She had no backpack on.  She informed us that they had reached the summit of the hike, and she had an impression to come down and help her friend.  She took Tenille’s backpack and hiked up the last part of the trail (which also happened to be the steepest).  Thank goodness for friends like Kay.  I’m sure Tenille could have made it, but it would have been much slower going and Tenille was quite frustrated with her sugar not cooperating.

We wanted to camp as close to the water source as possible, but there were already campers there.  Then, the next camp we found did not accommodate our big group.  So, we ended up staying about a 1/3-1/2 mile from the stream.  We made camp, cooked our dehydrated meals, and went to bed.  Sleeping in a tent in a blow up pad – isn’t really “sleeping” at all.  The next morning, Tenille confirmed that she was not able to get much sleep at all.  It’s nights like this that you remember, and when you slip into your normal comfortable bed, you say a little prayer of gratitude.  We had brought a hammock, and Tenille seriously contemplated trying to sleep in the hammock the next night.

20200821_102358That day, we hike up a few more miles to Lake Ingalls.  Everyone (except Tenille, Adam, and I) brought swim suits.  All the kids changed into their swim suits and took their turn wading into the lake.  Some of them did some jumping into the lake.  It was not the sunniest of days.  The air was pretty cool, and the report is that the lake was freezing. 

Nevertheless, when you’re young, you do not let water temperature get in the way of fun. 

On our hike, we met several parties returning from a hike.  One couple told us that if we hike out about another mile or so, we should summit a ridge with gorgeous views.

After our swim in the lake, we headed up further towards the ridge.  The hiking trail went up and down in steep inclines and declines – anything but level.  But, after about another mile of hiking, we hit the top of the ridge and was rewarded with beautiful views.

Caleb is like a mountain goat.  In the picture below, he went to the top of where we could climb for the picture.

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After we got back to the lake, we ate our packed lunches.  As you can see by the pictures, the clouds were starting to roll in.

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Then, it started raining.  It rained pretty hard.  Tenille had packed a few ponchos, but it did not help very much as rain leaked inside.  I just had on a fleece hoodie jacket, but it was getting drenched.  I eventually took off the poncho as it was interfering with the bouldering.  We hiked back to camp in the pouring rain.  When we got back to camp, we got in our tents and tried our best to dry off. 

I made the mistake of only packing that one fleece hoodie as my only long sleeve.  I was trying to optimize for packing light, but that was a rookie mistake.  Once my hoodie was wet, I had no dry clothes to cover my arms.  I warmed myself in my sleeping bag for a while.  Every time I tried to get out, my teeth started chattering.  It was almost dinner time, and I heard Tenille, Kay, and Adam gathered outside chatting.  We don’t get to see the Robinson’s much, and so I prayed that I might be able to socialize with them (and not freeze to death).  I got out of my sleeping bag and out of the tent.  The rain had slowed to an intermittent drizzle, but Adam had put up a tarp to protect us from the rain.  As soon as I took a seat under the tarp, my teeth started chattering.  I rubbed my arms vigorously hoping for some warmth, sad that my prayer didn’t warm me up.  Adam noticed my shivering and offered me his poofy vest right off his back.  Then, Kay grab an extra coat that she had packed and gave that to me to wear as well.  Within minutes, I was warmed up… and was reminded that prayers are often answered through friends, ministers, and strangers on the Lord’s errand.  It might not sound like a big deal, but warmth is much more important than food when it comes to survival.   A lesson I have learned deeply after this hiking experience.  A few more pounds of clothes can save your life.  Thank goodness for Adam and Kay that were willing to carry up those extra pounds that I could have some warmth after the rain storm.

The other excitement for the evening was that Tenille was determined to sleep in the hammock.  She knew that if she “slept” in the tent, she would not “sleep” at all.  In the evening, Adam hung up the tarp over the hammock, to try and keep her dry if it rained.  The tarp was a little bit short, but looked like it would cover most of the hammock.  I was afraid that if it rained, it would soak her sleeping bag, and then it would be a long night of trying to dry off and stay warm.  Tenille was not as concerned about that as getting some sleep.  We tucked her in as best as we could, wrapped her up like a burrito in the hammock, and went to bed that evening.

That night, the mountain winds blew fiercely.  Sometimes, the tent felt like it was going to be blown away with me inside.  I half-expected Tenille to be coming in through the tent door any minute.  Then, the rains came.  It poured and I could hear the drops of rain pounding the top of my tent.  I was very concerned for Tenille and hoped that she would quickly make it into the tent at this point.  I prayed that the rain would stop and that Tenille would not get soaked.  But, it seemed that as I prayed, the rain kept coming down harder and harder.  The winds blowing fiercer and fiercer.  Finally, my prayers changed.  “Heavenly Father, you know what you are doing.  Please just keep Tenille safe.”  After about an hour of raining, I saw no sign of Tenille, and I must have dozed off to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up early and got out of the tent to check on Tenille.  I expected her to be awake and drenched.  I unwrapped the hammock burrito to find her dry and sleeping deeply.  She didn’t wake up for another hour or so.  A reminder that Heavenly Father answers our prayers, but He does not need us to tell Him how to do anything.  His ways are wiser than ours.   Prayer is not an order form to ask Heavenly Father to deliver some kind of miracle right away or a request form for God to clean up a mess we made.   It is our privilege to pray directly to Heavenly Father that our hearts might be open and our will might be aligned with his – that we might understand His will.  In that way, we receive comfort, strength, and answers. 

Sure, we may ask Heavenly Father for protection of our family.  But, our hearts must be open that we can hear Him and receive instructions on how we should protect our family.  Personally, I think this is often easy to forget.  Heavenly Father is not our maid.  He is our God and He teaches us and encourages us to align our will with His. He helps us open our eyes to His plan, His will, and His creation.

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