I’ll admit it: my first thought was “Dang, this sucks.” They looked like a rowdy bunch, and they were taking over like the owned the place. Plus, I could tell that a couple of them weren’t exactly stoked to see that a couple of old guys (are we old guys now?) would be crashing their party.
It didn’t take long for both parties to warm up to one another. These kids weren’t up here to party — they were actually part of a youth group that had been coming up to the hut for the past nine years. This bunch had aged out of the youth group, but decided to continue the tradition on their own. The more we got to know them, the more we liked them.
By now, the clouds had officially settled in. It was sprinkling on-and-off, and the hut was feeling downright cozy. Not long after, another couple stumbled into the hut. Not only had they hiked up to the lake, but they’d also been up to Alpha and back down. They, understandably, looked spent.
We were now 10 people settled into the hut. While it wasn’t the serene getaway I’d pictured, I have to admit that it was rather fun to play tournaments of Spoons as the daylight disappeared. Everyone was tired from their respective hikes, and by 11 PM, we were all asleep in the sleeping lofts.
The next morning, Cedric and I strategically woke up before dawn to catch a sunrise paddle.
Booking a spot in the hut grants you access to a couple of canoes and rowboats, plus paddles and PFDs. When the rising sun hit the clouds just so, it made the hike — and waking up early — well worth it.
We paddled around the lake until we could no longer ignore our grumbling stomachs. In we went for some toad-in-the-holes (our outdoor adventure breakfast of choice when bringing eggs is an option).
We hung around a little while and enjoyed a few cups of tea by the water, and then it was time to go. We headed up to the helicopter landing rock (the only spot with cell service) and rang up Steve, then started the long walk down.
We managed a decent clip on the way down, and to me, it felt a heck of a lot easier than the way up. The only hiccup occurred right at the end. I stepped over a hole in the ground that seemed to have a dozen or so flies swarmed around it. As I registered the fact that those flies were, in fact, wasps, I felt a bugger sting me right through my pant leg. I ended up with three stings. Boo-urns.
Steve was waiting for us on the side of the river, and so we hopped in his boat and headed back to real life. On the ride back to our car, he told us that they’d seen dog paw prints in the mud and dog droppings near where they’d set up camp to try to attract Eli. As far as I know, they haven’t found him yet. But I really hope they do soon!
Thus concludes our Lake Lovely Water trip.