Good Luck Lake

Posted on 21 May 2022 by Steve Markham

Perhaps a Spring trip to Good Luck Lake with the Valleywooders is becoming an annual tradition. The trip came together in an unusual way. At the Fathers & Sons campout last weekend, Lars mentioned that he had some new gear to break in. So I emailed the usuals to see who was up for a trip the very next weekend, hoping for one more weekend before the black flies start biting. We didn’t get a big response, and I one point I emailed Lars saying “it looks like it will be you and me.” Then Josh replied that he and Will were in, and then Caleb and Jed, and then Annie reminded Josh that he promised her she could come on the next one to make up for not taking her to F&S, and if Annie was coming then Adele wanted to come, and if Adele was coming then Lewis wanted to come, and that got Camille interested, and if there were going to be 6 friends coming, Kenton didn’t want to miss out. Kyle had an ESYO thing and Amelia had TKD or else we’d have had even more.

The friends on top of the cliffs
The friends on top of the cliffs

As far as I know, nobody took any pictures on Friday, so I guess I’ll recap that in text only. We departed Valleywood around 4:30ish and hit the trail around 5:50ish. On my last outing to GLL I joined up with the retirees on the Dexter trail, and learned of two trails that aren’t on my map. One supposedly goes from the cliffs down to the Dexter trail, and indeed I found a cairn on the Dexter Trail for it. The other goes from the parking lot directly to the Lake (unlike the trail we usually take, which passes by the trail register).

My eclectic map with pins and tracks from several trips
My eclectic map with pins and tracks from several trips

We got rained on briefly as we hiked in. Lewis was distressed, and I ended up setting up a tarp for him to hide under while we waited it out. And ate snacks. He really wanted to stop at one of the many good sites we passed, but since some people needed to get home early this morning we pushed on and camped at the usual spot, which is the closest one to the cliffs. Eventually we got to camp, and started hanging hammocks and putting up tents. Two tents (Josh and Annie in one, Lewis and Adele in another) and seven hammocks. I know that dinner was ready before 8, but I don’t think by much. My kids were so tired after dinner that they were asleep in bed before anyone remembered that I had brought s’more stuff. Annie partook, though, and eventually Caleb and Will did, too. I stayed up chatting until 11ish, then listened to my book for a while and went to sleep. Lewis coughed through the night, but he wasn’t cold so it was probably just allergies.

I woke up around 6, heard some kids by the fire, and saw Adele already up and at them, very surprisingly. So I rolled out of bed, got dressed, and walked over to her, who turned out to be Annie, not Adele. I decided not to get back in bed, but got breakfast stuff ready instead. Fried eggs and pancakes, which the kids gobbled up.

Our morning fire
Our morning fire
It's a big site
It's a big site
I think seven is the most hammocks I've seen in one place
I think seven is the most hammocks I've seen in one place
The kids got along well the whole time
The kids got along well the whole time

While Lewis was eating is perfectly cooked fried eggs he started crying hysterically. I looked up to see him bleeding from his mouth. He already had blood on his hand. I figured he had fallen onto a rock or something, and went over with a paper towel to clean him up.

When he calemd down a little I asked him what happened, had a big kid done something to him, for example, and he indicated the fried egg did it to him. Hmm. Now, I happen to know that Lewis has been wiggling a loose tooth for about a week now, so I told him to press the paper towel into his gum to help stop the bleeding. I was hoping he might accidentally extract a tooth, and he did! Of course, that cheered him right up.

Around 7:30 we hit the trail, in hopes of making it up and back down in time for Kenton to be home at 11 (which worked out, I hear).

The kids go much faster without packs
The kids go much faster without packs

Adele was exhausted by the time we got to the top. Normally we stay up there for 30-40 minutes snacking and enjoying the view, but between the time constraint and the bugs (how did I make it this far in without mentioning the bugs??) we only stayed on top for long enough to take a few pictures.

Adele was not in a smiling mood
Adele was not in a smiling mood
Barely any time to explore the boulder caves on the way down
Barely any time to explore the boulder caves on the way down

I looked up 4 words on the way down. An eft is “the terrestrial phase of a predominantly aquatic newt.” A newt is “any of various small salamanders that are usually semiaquatic as adults.” A bog is “wet spongy ground” or “a poorly drained usually acid area rich in accumulated plant material, frequently surrounding a body of open water.” A marsh is “a tract of soft wet land usually characterized by monocotyledons (such as grasses or cattails).”

Lewis and Adele stopped to pick up several little orange reptiles. Lars, lover of reptiles that he is, was just as excited as they were.

Call it an eft, or a newt, or a salamander--they are all correct enough
Call it an eft, or a newt, or a salamander--they are all correct enough

We made it back down before our target time, and Jed, Kenton, Josh, Annie, and Lars all departed. That left me and 5 kids to have the rest of the fun. Caleb and Will played with very responsibly tended the fire while I packed up our gear. The black flies were biting by that point, so my kids were all in the tent reading and eating snacks.

I was pretty disappointed that I hadn’t gotten an evening dip in last night, so I had Lewis and Adele change into swimsuits for the hike out, all but guaranteeing we’d get to swim along the way.

Lots of exposed skin on Adele, but the bugs seemed to prefer Camille
Lots of exposed skin on Adele, but the bugs seemed to prefer Camille

We passed the first good swimming hole, but stopped at the second. The shore was rocky, so it was easy to keep feet clean as you got in and out.

No bugs underwater!
No bugs underwater!
No bugs in the tent, either
No bugs in the tent, either

It was rather warm and I broke a sweat on the quarter mile hike back to the car, somewhat undoing the swim. But I think the swim was my favorite part of the trip, and I’m definitely staying at one of those shoreline sites the next time I go. Which probably will be in July after black fly season ends.