My Dad and I are planning on taking Benji on his first-ever backpacking trip overnight Thursday to Friday. The plan is to go to a place called Heliotrope Ridge on Mt. Baker. We’ve been packing and preparing for a few days, gathering up all the backpacking gear and supplies we’ll need, and I keep oscillating between “wow, that’s a lot” and “we really don’t need that much.”

The big thing is backpacks. I’m the only one of us who owns a backpacking pack these days; Dad purged his long ago, figuring he’d never be backpacking again. REI no longer rents this type of gear, so that’s a challenge for Dad. And then there’s Benji: We definitely don’t have any kid-sized sleeping bags or backpacks. He won’t carry much, but he’ll have to carry at least his clothes, food, water, and sleeping bag… and probably at least one stuffed animal. I’m definitely not carrying stuffed animals for him! Fortunately, my parents have some neighbors who backpack with their kids, and they’ve very generously agreed to let Benji borrow a kid-sized pack and sleeping bag.

Anyway, we’re making a little progress getting ready, but with work and everything I feel like things are still very unprepared. But that may not matter: The forecast for Thursday and Friday looks damp here and downright soaking up north — and much colder than here, since the trail starts at like 6,000 feet. Dad and I may have waited a little too late in the season, or we may just be extremely unlucky. Either way, we’ll have to make a call at some point, and I don’t look forward to breaking it to Benji if we have to cancel the trip.

It’s pretty ironic; this last Sunday we had the hottest day of the year so far, and within four days it’s supposed to transition to cool and rainy. I guess we got about a week of summer this year. Hope we all enjoyed it!

Meanwhile, here’s a picture from an early-morning beat-the-heat bike ride I did on Sunday:

Matthews Beach Sunrise

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