Having successfully camped for two nights and hiked at high altitude, we figured it was safe to go backpacking. This will be Daphney’s first trip into the backcountry wilderness.
We spend the first night at Gray’s Meadow to acclimatize. Situated just below Kearsarge Pass, the campground gives us perfect night sky to view the Perseid meteor shower. I wake up just after midnight. Yan barely arouses. I try again at 4:30, and this time, through the top of our mesh tent, we lose count of how many fireballs pass across the starlit sky.
The next morning, we head out from the Saddlebag Lake boat launch and dam. On the other side of the lake on a grassy knoll, baby Audrey and baby Daphney get to know each other better. Beyond, we circle around the wrong side of Greenstone Lake but eventually make it to the highest valley; this is part of Twenty Lakes Basin.
The group decides to set camp by Mill Lake. This picturesque lake is overshadowed by North Peak. We set up and wash. Daphney gets a chilly dip into the small waterfall from Cascade Lake. She’s not happy, but I warm her up and put on fresh clothes. Yan and I get ourselves warm with egg drop soup, rice, and red curry.
As night falls, we turn in. The baby is fussy, and I’m worried again. Soon, though, Yan is able to console her to sleep. I’m outside orchestrating a tent lighting experiment. Some people’s lights are brighter than others’, so I have to call out when to shut off each one. After several tries, the lighting turns out evenly. My favorite shot from this trip would turn out to be the star trails over our lit tents.
The first rays of sun first fire up North Peak. Soon, the pools of water turn aglow with orange reflection as the valley comes to life. Daphney did fine, and she seems happy this morning. Yan and I have some hot drinks with oatmeal.
The hike out seems longer. Maybe it’s because the baby feels heavier as the trail wears on. We get to take a nice long break at Shamrock Lake—this turns out to be one of my favorite spots.
Before long, we’re back at the trailhead. A little hike along pavement brings us back to our cars. Daphney is still smiling, having gone on her first backpacking trip without ever wearing a backpack.