It was Sunday, a lazy one at that. When I had finally awoke, from my Nyquil induced stupor, I found my family enjoying the cozy comforts of this early fall morning. My wife, Julie, was nestled into the corner sectional with her tablet on her lap and Kip the recently acquired Labradoodle puppy happily snoring at her feet. Trent, our 8 year old was hiding under a blue blanket on the blue oxford chair near the corner of the room; sounds of his favorite show were muffled by the blanket but still rising through the fibers of the plush blanket. Rex the senior labradoodle, all of just over a year old was found in the center of the room happily guarding his stash of toys and bones from any passerby, especially Kip. I could see that they were also taking advantage of me sleeping in and had decided that we needed a day of rest outside of our normal Sunday worship service ritual.
After I assessed the situation in the main living area of the house I noticed out the window that the sun was already high in the sky and a new fall day had come to life. My cold from the past few days had finally lifted and I could once again breath on my own free will. With my new found lease on life I looked over at Trent and asked if he was up for an adventure? His response was a bit reluctant because it would mean he would have to give up his comfort of a warm blanket and chair and his enjoyment while happily playing on his electronic device. With a bit of prodding by myself and his mom he eventually inquired on where we might go, obviously hoping my call to adventure was one that was in his interested and not mine, but I had other plans. My plan was to explore the Santiam wilderness in search of Crabtree lake. A lake that had eluded us on more than one occasion over the past few weeks but I felt today the odds were in our favor.
Crabtree lake is a small mountain lake nestled above Green Peter Reservoir and near Crabtree and Yellowstone mountain in the Lower Santiam Wilderness. It sits about 4,000 ft elevation, no so high that this time of year we would encounter snow but we would get into some lower temps on this early fall day. All of our searches to this date had been diverted by closed forest service gates or just lack of through road or trails that our Ranger could proceed on. A couple of sections have bridges that are out and others are just closed. Today though, I felt would be different. Today I felt that we had the rains of the past few weeks on our side. The dangers of summer fire season had past and the gates should be open. Really, according to the map and my numerous GPS files from previous trips, I only needed one gate to be open, Trout Creek road. From there I could connect the dots from our previous GPS tracks to find the coveted Crabtree lake that had been eluding us.
In the end success was ours. We had found our lake and in the process we had found our adventure. The drive out was great, the first few miles were tarmac but eventually we hit the gravelly forest road and some double track where were required to rely on the trucks four wheel drive. There were hill climbs, sliding down some rocks, crawling though some much needed mud and then getting cleaned by quartzville and crabtree creeks. We looked out over the valleys and climbed over the top of mountain summits. We exited the truck at times for some much needed walks through forested trails and enjoyed fresh water from glacial creeks, rivers and lakes. We breathed in life from mountain air and breathed out our anxiety. It truly was a day that will be filed in the memory cabinet with the label as good. It was a much needed break from the daily routine. It was a time for us to get away and escape the norms of every day life. A time to reflect on the past and think about the future. It was a time to accomplish nothing but receiving the sense that we had accomplished everything.
I am not certain where my sense of adventure came from but over the years I have learned that it is necessary. The desire to explore new lands, seek out new scenery is as much a part of me as breathing. I cannot imaging life without it. Fortunately now I get to do that with an awesome son and some cool furry friends.
If you are interested in finding this lake then I highly recommend it. Here is the public link to the route via GAIA GPS