October 3-4

My husband and I spent the first weekend in October backpacking. Nothing grand or record-breaking this time, just a quick one night trip to a pretty little no-name lake. We seem to make a point of visiting this lake once each year, having camped here in 2013, 2014, and now 2015. We call it Elf Lake in honor of the elaborate stone furniture in the campsite, which looks like it might have been made by elves.

We got a late start on Saturday, which was no problem because we only had to hike four miles to our destination. The sky was clear and bright blue when we started our trek, but clouds built throughout the day and that evening we experienced a tremendous thunderstorm with rain and hail and lightening directly overhead.

Thunderheads building over the Sierra Buttes.

This was the fifth thunderstorm we’ve weathered while backpacking in 2015, but it was the first time we experienced hail big enough to be painful when it struck exposed skin. After collecting a few photos of the storm we retreated to our tent.

Sunset, only a few minutes before the thunderstorm hit.
Incoming thunderstorm.

At only nine miles round-trip this hike was shorter than any we’ve done in the past five months, but it was the perfect length for the conditions we faced. After my downturn in health last month I’m still not feeling great. It was nice to get out for an October trip and spend a few days outside. Only two months remain until I’ll meet my goal of backpacking in every month of the year. I can do it!

Posing with the elven furniture.

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