9.08.2019

Peaks of Otter - Camping & Hiking

I'll apologize in advance, this is a long post due to the number of pics.  I have to say, I think this is my favorite camping trip with Jonathan due to the hikes, views, and campsite fun.  Jonathan and I completed 3 hikes in 2 days for a total of 9 miles, 4 of which were uphill, and a total of 2,480 feet of elevation change (only counting the uphill portions).  That's the equivalent of climbing 248 stories in 2 days.  Jonathan did pretty awesome for an 8 year old.  I'd love to get back with Michelle and Kaitlyn at some point...time will tell.


We planned well and made sure we didn't have anything in our tent that would attract animals (to include toothpaste, deodorant, and food).  Jonathan is pretty knowledgeable on how to respond if we come across a bear.

That's Sharp Top peak in the distance, I fell in love with it when I first saw it last year.  Our campsite was in the low wooded area just past the lake.

We didn't bring any rods or do any fishing...we had several hikes planned instead.

As Jonathan started to walk on the bridge, he saw a black rat snake off to the left side in the grass.  You can see him pointing back towards it as he walked back to me, looking around to make sure there weren't more.  It slithered under the bridge and we didn't see it again.

Here's the pic I was hoping to get.

Our first hike was a 1 mile loop around Abbott Lake to warm up.

That's Flat Top mountain in the background, we hiked that Sunday morning.  You can also see the lodges at Abbott Lake that I may take the girls to.




I feel like John Muir and I would have gotten along well...

We picked a campsite in the back corner of the loop where it was more secluded and more heavily wooded.  We didn't see any bears during our visit but the rangers said about 2 weeks earlier they were seeing bears walking through the sites daily.

Notice J-bird's legs hanging out of the hammock?  :)

The start of our Sharp Top hike Saturday afternoon.



It's easy to miss Jonathan in the next 3 pics as he's well camouflaged.






A beautiful view at Buzzard's Roost on the way to the peak. You may be able to click on the pic to enlarge the panoramic picture.  The pics never truly capture the raw beauty, scale and grandeur of the mountains or views.


These next two required me to set a 10-second timer on my phone, after making sure it was properly balanced and aimed, and jumping across rocks to get in it in time.




Made it to the peak of Sharp Top and it was absolutely awesome.

Jonathan is pointing to Abbott Lake that we hiked around earlier in the day.  The elevation change on this hike was estimated at 1,340 feet.

Don't miss Jonathan in this pic...


There was one other person up top so I asked him to snap a pic of J and I. This may end up on my hiking wall.





Snack and break time!  Not a bad spot for it.


There was a deer in the woods not far from the peak.  Hard to see in this pic but it's right near the middle of the screen.

This deer further down the trail obviously didn't care that we were passing.


After the hike we drove to town to get marshmallows for the fire.  You can see Sharp Top on the left and Flat Top on the right.  Flat Top is actually 126' taller even though Sharp Top appears to be the taller peak.

Jonathan brought several of the camping supplies and survival tools he earned by selling popcorn with Cub Scouts, to include the emergency whistle around his neck, the flint and multitool in his hands, binoculars, compass, knife, wire saw (in the video at the end), and flashlight.  We started both fires (evening and morning) with the magnesium flint and striker....and yes, we had a lighter just in case :)  Jonathan was able to throw sparks with the flint but wasn't able to light it. I have video of him trying at the bottom of the page.


Sunday morning we were ready to start another fire to get breakfast going.

We built a tripod on each side of the fire pit with a cross branch between to help adjust the height of the pot to boil water for breakfast.  We brought an MRE where you pour boiling water into the bag and let it sit for 8 minutes to cook.

It was delicious and hit the spot.


He looked sporty in my Cub Scouts hat.

This was a beautiful over look towards the top of the mountain.  It was the only good overlook we had on the second day.  We stopped here for a snack before continuing to the peak.  I dropped the cap to Jonathan's water bottle in between two rocks so we had to find a long stick, use some cordage from my bag, and execute a rescue mission to retrieve it.  We did it.


He got good use of his binoculars on this trip.


We made it!  Very anticlimactic as there was no view from the peak...and we weren't willing to climb a tree to find one.


We stopped at the same overlook on the way down for lunch.  I didn't drop the water bottle or cap but I did drop my sandwich in between the rocks.  It clearly was a butterfinger kind of day for me.

Once the campsite was packed up and the car loaded, we relaxed in the hammock to unwind before hitting the road.  It was an excellent trip and I know we'll do it again at some point.

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