So I guess I better give some commentary on the pictures from White Pine Lake. Here's how things went down:
A has had the same backpack he got when he was twelve. I have no backpack at all. Luckily, we have outdoorsy and very generous family that loaned me a very nice pack, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. Since it was my first backpacking trip, A carried most of the heavy duty stuff, like the camping stove, the pots/pans, the tent, the gallon of water, the first aid kit, etc. In my pack, I had a sleeping bag and pad, a pillow, a mug, sweats, toiletries (toothbrush/paste, sunscreen, tums, and such)and some snacks. My pack was not feather, but much lighter than A's. So, we got everything together and packed, hopped in the truck, and set off.
Twenty minutes into our journey, A realized he'd forgotten his little bum-bag with all his water and food, so we had to go back home. So we got up to Logan a little later than planned, grabbed some lunch, and headed up Logan Canyon. We got up to Tony Grove, and even there the wildflowers were amazing. We parked and took one last sit on a real toilet, and started up the trail. White Pine Lake is about 4 miles each way, uphill right at first, then flat for awhile as you pass through a meadow, and then downhill into a basin, where the lake sits.
A let me hike in front to set the pace. I think he was a bit worried I would have a hard time. I felt like I had to prove myself so I tried to set a fairly brisk pace. He told me he thought I was going to smoke him at first, because I was going pretty fast. I attribute it to our packs, since mine was so much lighter. I also tend to always start to fast on hikes. Let's just say that we evened out in speed.
I thought the journey was actually okay, it was hard, physically challenging, but I didn't feel like I was dying or anything, and I was definitely not miserable. Perhaps the green rolling hills, blooming flowers, and perfectly blue sky helped.
We reached the lake pretty quickly, it seemed like an hour and a half or so. We found a spot right by the lake, far away from the boy scouts and rowdy USU students. Our nice neighbors gave us some wood, so we started a fire, set up our tent, and started dinner (low-fat velveeta mac and cheese with fat free hotdogs. I know, we're gourmet).
I figured we should probably try the bathroom we'd seen a sign for on our way in, so after dinner we followed the signs up there. The "bathroom" was an outhouse that looked right out of a horror movie, and smelled like it too. This was bad news for me, since doing business in the bushes has never been one of my fortes. After trying some different positions, and with A standing watch, I finally somehow relaxed enough to go, the yelling and shouting down the hill was not helpful.
I was thankful for my long sweats, because the mosquitos were out in full force that evening. Finally I convinced A to come into the tent and play cards. Somehow I'm very lucky when playing cards, to the extent that my opponents get discouraged enough they don't want to play anymore. Uno was no exception. I smoked A. Smoked him. Then it got dark, and the mosquitos were gone, so we went out by the fire and chilled. Around ten thirty we went to bed, and neither of us slept well at all. I kept waking up and thinking, "Why am I awake? Is it morning?" I usually have no problem sleeping anywhere, so this was no good.
We got up fairly early, before the scouts/USU kiddos who had stayed up very late (and loud) the night before. We cooked up some oatmeal with crasins, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and drank cider before packing up and heading out. We also spent a good amount of time trying to find a suitable place for me to go to the bathroom. After stressing much, we decided to hike out a bit first and find somewhere more private and secluded. This time was not as easy as the first, but I survived. I also got a bloody nose, not the most fun thing when you're camping.
The hike out was beautiful. It was early, maybe eight in the morning, very cool with a nice breeze. It also seemed that more flowers and blossomed just overnight. It was really nice to have the uphill first, downhill at the end, though my ankles were not doing so hot on the way back. I was wearing trail runners, which were comfortable but offered no ankle support.
We made it back to the truck intact, with plenty of snacks left, which we took care of on the way home. I'm still sore from this trip today, but no worse for the wear. I definitely think I would do it again, and A is already designing a contraption to make the bathroom experience easier for me. I've already rejected the idea of a toilet seat swing.