Saturday, June 15, 2019

Camping with the Chius

Since Wes and I have started going camping and backpacking a lot in the last year, I have been thinking about having my parents come with us.  They used to always take my siblings and I to a bunch of national parks.  Long drives to beautiful destinations were some of the most fun times in my family.  I always wished that Mom and Dad were there to see the beautiful sights that I sent them photos of on my new adventures with Wes.  Finally, we asked them and see if they'd be able to join us on a trip to Big Pine in November.

Neither of them had gone hiking or camping in forever, but they agreed to come!  Dad took us kids on our first camping trip ever in Yellowstone National Park in 2005, and it was now our turn to return the favor.  This would be the first time he would be going camping since that trip long ago, and Mom's first time since she was in college, back in Taiwan.  It was a big deal!

We got them some trekking poles, advised them to bring a LOT of blankets, booked a last-minute group campsite at Baker Creek, and prepared an ice chest full of ribs (pre-cooked by Wes) and chili ingredients.  Margaret and Andrew also joined in, making it a big group hangout.  Never would we have thought that we'd all be out here together, on a random weekend in the Eastern Sierra, with our tents, cars, coolers, and layers.  At close to age 60, my parents were major troopers.

We were a little worried that they'd be out of their element since it had been so long, but they did great.  They even hiked with us for a decent amount on the Treasure Lakes trail, which is not easy, especially at high altitude!  While looking out over South Lake and into the mountains, Mom declared that it felt like she was in the Alps.  I was so excited that I could bring her that vision - this must have been how she felt when she took us to the lip of the Grand Canyon, the base of a sequoia tree, the shoreline of Utah's great Salt Lake.  The air was fresh, the sun was out, our spirits were high, and we felt really connected not only to the majestic nature all around us, but to each other.

They crossed some crazy frozen streams and went up and down a bunch of steep hills.  After a while, they stopped to rest at a nice panoramic lookout point while Wes and I continued on.

We thought about stopping here and turning back, as it was nearing sunset and it was clearly very cold...

But we made it to Treasure Lake just in the knick of time.  We saw it in all of its glory before the sun disappeared behind the mountains, leaving everything in a sudden shadow.  The wind picked up almost instantly, so we hurried out of there.

We made it back down with enough light, meeting my parents in the parking lot.  Then, back to the campsite we went, to make some dinner!

It was a successful day out.  Warm meat and chili was great in 30-something-degree weather.  My mom retreated into the tent underneath her 10 layers of blankets shortly after while the rest of us sat around the campfire and talked.  It was heartwarming being all there together in the dark, some of the only people dumb enough to camp in November.  We truly seized the moment!

We visited the astounding Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest the next day, which was also awesome.  After that, everybody got into their separate cars and drove home.  We only had a weekend, but we made it work.  I can't wait to do this again, and I hope that my parents will stay healthy and fit as long as possible, and that being with them will always have that magic un-adulting effect.  I could really use a dose of that now!

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