Posted on 07 Sep 2021 by Steve Markham
We all went backpacking to Clear Pond to celebrate Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah, and my 40th birthday. The Madsens came with. It was lovely. Backpacking is my favorite thing.
This is my 5th trip to Clear Pond. I scouted it out with Kurt after a trip up Treadway mountain with him in May 2020, then went back with the Newmans, and again with the whole family, then again with Kyle during a Pharoah loop last August. It was on that last trip that Kyle and I found the waterfall which was the main attraction (at least for me) of this trip.
Sadly, you only get to see pictures of things I did when it was convenient to take a picture. We spent Monday morning packing our gear. Lewis was bouncing off the walls, super excited to go backpacking. We left Valleywood around 1:20 Monday afternoon, started hiking around 3:15, and got to the lean-to a little before 5. There was a nice lady and her dog in the lean-to, so we swam for a half hour or so and then relocated to the tent site across the pond. By then it was time for dinner.
The Markhams had pasta with pesto (prepared at home, thank you Janet and Lewis) with mozzarella balls and tomatos and parmesan. During seconds we started adding pouches of chicken. It was funny to see Adele and Lewis tentatively taste-test the chicken and then ask for as much as I would give them. Dinner was yummy. Kyle and Will made a fire, and we had jiffy pop and s’mores.
The Madsens were in two tents (kids in one, grownups in the other) while the Markhams were in one tent and three hammocks. My hammock was separated from the rest of the group by quite a bit. I woke up on my birthday right next to the pond, and took these pictures from my hammock.
I soon spied Lewis sitting in the sun enjoying the view.
I said hello, and then remembered that Dewey was very excited about my birthday card, and wanted Lewis to be there when I opened it.
Dewey’s painting skills are phenomenal. If you recognize the image, that’s because it was inspired by our recent trip to Acadia.
As people woke up they all wanted to see the card and the photo. Sadly I was the only one who got the Star Wars reference.
We had eggs, oatmeal, and fried salami for breakfast, after Josh helped me fix my stove. The pump quit working after about 4 pumps Monday night. It was enough pressure to cook dinner, but I couldn’t light the stove again once it was out. In the dark, with his stove right there when we needed to boil water for dishes, I couldn’t/didn’t figure out what was wrong. In the sunshine Tuesday morning we took the pump apart, found a little fleck of pine crud that was breaking the seal, and things were good as new again. Josh is very handy.
The kids played together super well on this trip.
Once we had things packed up, we hiked about two miles up to the waterfall. Josh and I had packs with swim stuff and lunch, but none of the kids had to carry anything. We made much better time to the falls than on the two mile hike to the lean-to.
We ate lunch and played at the waterfall for over an hour.
Kyle asked if we had a rope so he could climb farther up the rock face. I did, but today wasn’t a good day for anything that required a rope in order to be safe.
It took a while, but eventually we decided to put swimsuits on the kids, who were going to get wet accidentally if they kept playing near that much water.
We hiked back to camp, grabbed our gear, then hiked back to the cars. Adele wanted to swim at camp before we left, but there wasn’t really time. At some point I figured out that she was very hot, and showed her how to stick her arms and head in the creek to cool off.
Now it’s time to eat birthday cake. Then I’ll unpack.