This hike as been sitting on my “To Hike” list for awhile now. I was sad that I failed to get to it over the last summer. It was eating away at me, I could hear it calling. Seriously I the famous John Muir quote “The mountains are calling and I must go” was strong with this hike. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Well late last week I saw that the Ice Castles are open in Lincoln, a few minutes later online I was credit card out buying tickets, and booking a hotel room without much thought. Well then the mountains really started to call…
I started planning, was I really going to attempt to hike my number one to do hike…in the WINTER? I laid everything out on the kitchen table, the amount of gear I was packing was a lot. Know I really know why backpackers lay everything out. I needed a visual inventory of everything I was packing. I needed to physically see myself put the first aid kit into the backpack (after I took it out). It was a process, but I wanted to be prepared.
Sunday morning, was gorgeous. It was sunny and when we got to the PACKED trailhead it was already 39 degrees at 10am. We finished getting ready in the parking lot and headed off. The trail was very well packed, we wore out MICROspikes, we saw some trying snowshoes but they were totally not necessary. It was much more steep than I was expecting. I thought back to Following Atticus when Tom would say that he how he would curse his way up mountains and swear off junk food, because I was doing just that. Every turn and switchback I was stopping cursing to myself and loving every minute of this stress. Its hard to really love it in the moment but once you finish the great feeling that you did something awesome is overwhelming.
Aubrey was a little celebrity on the trail. Everyone had to stop and meet her. She loved every minute of it. She said Hi and Bye to everyone she met and it was just nice to see that many people welcome a kid so small on a trail much bigger than her. Many parents stopped to tell us their stories of hiking with their kids, who are now 20+ and hiking up just ahead of them. “Start them small” was the biggest suggestion we got from everyone we met.
The feeling when we made it to the lake and we could see the hut across the frozen water was awesome. We were able to walk across and cut down on some mileage. There was a group of guys playing ultimate snowshoe frisbee on the ice. Appartently it is a meet up that happens every year the weekend before the Super Bowl. We walked up to the hut and went inside and ate our lunch (Bagels and oranges I grabbed from the breakfast buffet at the hotel). We finished up and headed back down to the car.
It was a great day for a hike. Now to figure out what the next major hike on my To Hike list is.