A Hike and a Rescue

This guest report is by my brother-in-law, Gary Richer, a.k.a. “Mountainman”.  Gary is a mountain climber who lives in the Seattle area.  There have been other Mountainman reports made here before.  This is definitely not kayaking but it is adventure, and arduous adventure at that.  Gary always writes with a great sense of humor.  But I find this story particularly funny because it involves my sister, Jane.  Enjoy his mis-adventure.

This was a planned hike to Robin Lakes and we expected a long day…..it turned into a very long day! 

Old stale donut tire....but saved our butt

The invite to the hike only attracted a few takers….myself, Erik, and our old Rainier summit partner Marco. This started with a six AM meet and a two hour drive to the trailhead.... which included over twelve miles of rough pot holed dirt roads and a creek crossing. 

Hyas Lake

The first four miles of the trek started on the Deception Pass Trail and were awesome, with a few stops along Hyas Lake for some picture taking. We were making excellent time for the first 4.4 miles ( two hours) and expected to be at Robin Lakes in another 1.5 hours. The turnoff and trail to Tuck and Robin Lakes was a little rougher than we expected. We figured forty minutes to Tuck Lake.  With only 1.1 miles and 1100 feet of altitude gain, it shouldn't have been that hard....but this was a steep trail that had us climbing over boulders and numerous downed trees. It took us well over an hour to reach Tuck lake and with the temperatures climbing on this sunny and warm day we were pretty tired. 

Mount Danie1l

With Robin Lakes another 1.4 miles beyond Tuck Lake and supposedly a tougher trail we made a strategic decision.  It would take another 2-3 hours for the round trip climb to Robin Lakes.  So we decided this was good enough. We had gone far enough.  While I was disappointed because Robin Lakes has been on my list for several years, I knew it was best to stop here and save Robin Lakes for another day. If we had extended to Robin Lakes we would not have gotten back to the trailhead until after sunset.....which from previous trek experiences we've learned is not always a good idea. 

Tuck Lake1Lunch Break

After spending well over an hour at Tuck Lake enjoying the mountains on a warm and sunny fall day we finally headed back. The trek down from Tuck Lake was a little easier but still a full body workout....but once back to the main trail is was a straight shot to the starting point.  We got back to the van and I was looking forward to a beer to refresh ourselves before heading out for the two hour trip back to North Bend. Well, Houston, we had a problem! 

Marco was the first to notice that we had a flat tire. Hmmmm….. this ain't good. This 1997 Plymouth Voyager with 298,000 miles on it (yes, 298,000) had never had a flat before. Well let's see what we have for a spare....yup, it was one of those crappy donut tires that had been hanging under the bottom of the van for 18 years. Well, we put the donut on and by golly it was holding. 

So before taking off we decided to have a beer and chips to see if it would hold....looking good! Well that rough old dirt road didn't take long to flatten that donut out....within a couple of miles I heard metal hitting rock.....yes, that was the rim hitting the rocks on the road. We didn't have a choice and I continued on and hoped to make it to the backcountry home of someone we had met before. (that is a whole separate story that I won't go int  Needless to say, I was frustrated with that situation and decide to press on as it was getting dark and we still had not made the main road. 

We finally made it to pavement but we still didn't have cell reception to call for help. So on we limped with a flat donut on the dark road but with a full moon.  We finally got cell reception a few miles outside of Roslyn and were able to call my wife Jane....yup, that call went over well. 

We decided to try to make it to the east end of Roslyn where we could be picked up Jane. We had traveled 30 miles in a little over two hours on a donut which over 25 miles of those miles was flat.....take a look at a picture of that awesome donut. We made it to a stop n' rob (east coast lingo) in Roslyn and parked the van there. We were hoping they would have a tire repair kit and air pump but had neither....and nothing else was open so we had to wait for Jane (%$#). 

Jane has always complained about the risk taking and nutty stuff we do so this was not good. She arrived at nine pm and just looked at us and said, "This is Jane's Search and Rescue....do you boys need some help?” and had a s..t eatin' grin on her face. "You guys are gonna owe me!" 

Well we loaded up all our gear, three scruffy hikers and two dirty dogs in her nice car (yup a little detailing bill is coming our way!). We made it back to North Bend by ten pm so it could have been worse considering our situation. Erik and I drove back to Roslyn the next evening with a repaired tire and got the van back to North Bend. It appears that there was no damage driving the van under those conditions....I am determined to make that baby make 300k. And yes we still plan on making Robin Lakes this fall.

Brooding skies

Brooding Sky

Mount Daniel

Mount Daniel

Mount Danie2l

Mount Daniel

Central Cascades

Central Cascades

The gang

The Gang

Tuck Lake2

Tuck Lake

 © Don Yackel 2020