Monday, July 14, 2014

The Quest for Comma (and other mishaps along the way)

Remember that one time I read Bob Welch's book about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and then I decided I needed to go explore my backyard a bit more. In his book, Welch writes about his own quest to find a little lake near another lake, and I made it a goal this summer to find that same lake.

After a serious failure of an attempt to find Comma lake last month, I set out early yesterday morning for the second attempt to find the lake. With the taste of defeat still in my mouth, my hopes were high that I'd come out with a few less scrapes and bruises and much more satisfaction at having accomplished the goal. 

And then, not two minutes after putting the car in park at the trail head, I managed to lock my keys in the car. With my pack. And my cell phone. I can't even make this stuff up. My first instinct was to forget the pack and just go hiking and find the lake so the day wouldn't be a complete waste. I'd deal with the car situation when I returned. But knowing that wasn't the wisest choice given the difficulty I had in finding the lake last time, I marched to the site manager to see if he had any tools that might help with the job. He gave me a flimsy wire and not a lot of encouragement.

Heading back to the car, I cut back through an empty campsite where there happened to be a much sturdier wire hotdog roaster. Not even 100 yards from where I was parked. It seemed the best option. One guy after asking the year of my Camry suggested with great enthusiasm that the job would be a cinch. He did not, however, offer to help. And it turned out not to be as easy a job as he suggested. In fact, his method was an utter failure. 

I borrowed a phone to call my dad to see if my insurance would cover the cost of a broken window, but Dad's phone went straight to voicemail. By this point I was willing to pay for the repair myself. But one more method was attempted. Prying the corner of the door open with a borrowed Leatherman tool, and slipping the wire inside was the next best option. When it was not strong enough to push the unlock button, it was time to hook the end of the wire and slipped it around the door handle. It took a few tries, but finally, FINALLY, the door unlocked. The relief was real, people. The whole ordeal lasted an hour and 15 minutes, with minimal vehicular damage, and a slight headache of my own making.

So almost two and a half hours after leaving the house, I was finally on the trail, with pack and keys, ready to find Comma Lake. After further study of maps, and knowing what went wrong on the last attempt, confidence was high that this hike would be faster and more successful. 

There is no trail to Comma Lake, which is why she's so difficult to find. An hour later, on and then off the trail, find her I did.

Shortly after hiking around to the other side of the lake, a thunder storm rolled in, and I was forced to seek shelter under a tree. 

It passed quickly enough, and the sun came out again. There is nothing quite like getting to enjoy a lake all to one's self. If you don't count the birds, bugs, and frogs. I saw more than one Stellar's Jay hanging about, and may have heard a woodpecker or two.

The day was successful in all sorts of ways. I just hope next time doesn't necessitate the breaking in of my vehicle. But in the off chance it does, there may or may not be a hotdog roaster shoved into the undercarriage of my car. And I might be looking at the purchase of my very own Leatherman. I'm just saying maybe it might be a good idea. 

1 comment:

  1. So glad you rescued your keys and found the lake! A successful day all around.