Palmer Pond with the Kiddies

Posted on 11 Jun 2022 by Steve Markham

The silver lining of having cut last week’s outing short is that Adele and Lewis joined me for the trip to Palmer Pond. There were plenty of mosquitos, but we came prepared and had a good time.

All smiles for the start of the trip
All smiles for the start of the trip

James recommend Palmer Pond to me a couple years ago (along with Daketown SF, one of our favorite spots). It’s a short hike into the pond, then a little less than 2 miles to a nice view, with 2 or 3 campsites to choose from.

We only missed one turn the whole trip!
We only missed one turn the whole trip!

I didn’t really decide to go until about 3:30 after a nudge from Janet, and we were packed and in the car by 4:30. It’s a longer drive than I’d like, 75 minutes, so we took the van and the kiddies watched Wild Kratts while I listened to a podcast.

It was a quick hike into the campsite. Adele and Lewis were both in shorts, which turned out to be fine. There were mosquitos, but we had bugspray, headnets, and gloves. The first order of business was setting up the tent in case the bugs got worse once we were standing still. The kiddies went off collecting firewood and then exploring. Once I was done with the tent I had to come see all the cool stuff they’d found.

These two play well together all the time, but especially while camping
These two play well together all the time, but especially while camping
This is a picture of clouds. The cute redhead is a fortuitous accident.
This is a picture of clouds. The cute redhead is a fortuitous accident.

Lewis helped me get the fire going. All the sticks he collected were great, and it lit right up with no accelerants or even newspaper. We had a hard time getting anything big to burn, though, which made s’mores tricky.

Firemaster Lewis
Firemaster Lewis

We had enough chocolate for 6 s’mores, but only enough “coals” for about 4 marshmallows. Lewis cheerfully ate one of his cold, and I was happy to just have plain chocolate for my round 2. Come to think of it, we might have done 6 marshmallows, but the kids each had one marshmallow plain. Whatever. Dessert was delicious, though it made me miss having Kyle there.

It was a lovely view in real life, where being backlit wasn't such an issue
It was a lovely view in real life, where being backlit wasn't such an issue
That marshmallow got warm, but not gooey
That marshmallow got warm, but not gooey

During dinner we heard another hiker or two and their dog come down the trail. There was another point sticking out in the pond nearby, and they hung out there for a while. I think if Adele hadn’t pointed them out I wouldn’t have noticed them. The spot clearly gets used (judging by the fresh butts and clean/usable cookware by the fire ring) but we had it to ourselves last night.

After dinner and dessert I finished inflating the kids’ pads and then Adele and I changed into swimsuits. We got about waist deep, but I hadn’t broken a sweat and had trouble convincing myself to go under.

Adele didn't like the squishy bottom, but she loved all the fish and tadpoles
Adele didn't like the squishy bottom, but she loved all the fish and tadpoles

Then the kids had a party in the tent, but eventually went quiet. I stayed up for a few minutes to do dishes and relax, but I think I was asleep before 9pm.

Our campsite

I got up at 3:30am to see the planets. Supposedly you can see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn all at the same time this month, looking SouthEast just before dawn. I could definitely see Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn at 3:30. I waited a while to see if Venus would come up, but gave up before it did. Checking now that I’m home, I think my horizon was too high and the sun would have started lighting up the sky before it came up, so I’m glad I didn’t wait. Interestingly, in the pond I could see reflections of planets but not stars. To my eye they didn’t seem that much brighter than stars, but I guess they are. Mars looked very red, and very close to Jupiter. My camera was unable to capture the scene.

I love misty ponds in the morning
I love misty ponds in the morning

Lately I’ve been making fried eggs for Kyle, Camille and me, plus the usual scrambled eggs for Janet (which Adele now eats, sometimes). I tried buttering my pot and cooking fried eggs in a thin pot over a stove with only two settings, “high” and “off”. It would have worked better if I’d let the butter cook longer before adding the eggs, but they came out OK.

Backcountry fried eggs for Lewis and me
Backcountry fried eggs for Lewis and me

We also had oatmeal, cocoa, and granola bars.

Around 8:30 we were ready for our hike.

The kids hadn't brought warm clothes, so they ran the first half mile to warm up
The kids hadn't brought warm clothes, so they ran the first half mile to warm up

I managed to keep up with them, and despite slightly over-shooting one turnoff, we got to the vista in just under an hour. The bugs were MUCH denser along the trail than they had been at camp. The breeze on top of the hill was enough to keep the bugs off, which was a welcome relief.

A lovely day for a hike
A lovely day for a hike
The spot reminded me of the first view on the way up Tongue
The spot reminded me of the first view on the way up Tongue
There were lots of caterpillars and one leprechaun in this tree
There were lots of caterpillars and one leprechaun in this tree
Adele says she is holding a caterpiller chrysalis
Adele says she is holding a caterpiller chrysalis

The turnoff that we missed on the way out has a notable landmark, these three old metal cans, so I kept telling them to look for the cans.

Lewis was very excited to see them on the way back, and played us a little song.
Adele didn't want to be left out of the recital

The kids were running out of gas on the way back. I broke out the sour airheads, the only candy I had brought on the hike, and that got them in a good mood. Adele started telling stories to Lewis (variations on the Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Head, but this time with a big Bold wolf, whom the piggy sister ends up marrying and Red gets along with just fine).

The hike ended on a very happy note, despite some tears earlier
The hike ended on a very happy note, despite some tears earlier

Adele held very still to attract dragonflies while I was packing up.

At one point she had six of them on her, though I only got pictures of one at a time
At one point she had six of them on her, though I only got pictures of one at a time

The kids did great and we were home at 12:03 in time for lunch. Aside from laundry and dishes, we’re all unpacked and ready for the next trip. Location and date TBD, but Kyle and Camille sound a little jealous so maybe I’ll have all four with me next time.