We always try to find the chance to get out in the tent on New Years. This year, since everyone was staying close to home and parties were not approved, it worked out for us.
We kept watching the weather during the early part of the week and there seemed to be a short period of time on New Years Eve when it wouldn’t rain or snow in the mountains.
We chose to go up the Lower Graywolf trail because we knew there were some nice riverside campsites and the elevation wouldn’t be high enough to get us into the snow.
It didn’t take us too long to get our gear ready on Thursday. We were looking forward to trying out our new sleeping system which includes a Thermarest backpacking quilt and a Klymit double fitted sheet that goes over both of our sleeping pads.
We left the driveway at 10:15am for the uneventful 1-hour drive to the trailhead.
Seven cars were already parked at the trailhead when we arrived which was sort of surprising. It took only a few minutes to get our boots on and to hoist packs on our backs.
The trail starts downhill along an old decommissioned road that nature has reclaimed. It then traverses the side of a ridge and crosses a few streams as it turns up and then descends down to the Graywolf. It also passes a newly created trail, the Cat Creek Loop.
The trail goes down to the river at Two Mile Camp but we were continuing on for a couple more miles.
After climbing up the mountainside to a trail overlook, the path goes down again to the river to Cliff Camp which is surrounded by pillow-lava cliffs.
The way continues closely along the river which is a beautiful wild river with many cascades, rapids, and deep green pools. Fishermen come here in season which accounts for the well-used camps in convenient locations. Fire rings are a part of each campsite. In some burned trash still presents a blemish.
We had come here earlier in the year, and found where the trail ended where the old bridge had been. Nearby Divide Creek flows into the Graywolf on the opposite bank.
Supposedly, there was a camp on our side but it seems to have been abandoned. The good camp located between Twin and Sutherland Creeks is where we set up our tent. It’s a smaller camp for maybe just two or three tents. Good water is just steps away. By my figuring, it’s about 4 miles from where we started.
It didn’t take long to get everything set up and it’s fortunate that there was no rain although clouds were clinging to the tops of the trees.
New Year’s Eve dinner was lasagna, crackers, and cheese. “Hot Drinks” always come before dinner, and tonight’s pre-dinner delight was Girardelli instant hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and a decorative marshmallow. I don’t recommend Girardelli hot chocolate. Swiss Miss is much better tasting, and I wish I hadn’t chomped on the candy decoration on the marshmallow. Ick! It was fun and a good start to our evening anyway. 😁
We tucked in about 9:30 but woke just after midnight for a New Years kiss 💋.
Our new sleep system is a bit on the cool side and I didn’t sleep too well until I took ibuprofen. Then sleep came easily.
The 6am coffee alarm 🚨 went off on time and it’s tasted pretty good. While we listened to some up-beat music, I made water for the freeze-dried biscuits-and-gravy, and made, what I think, was some of my best (real) scrambled eggs in the cookpot. We both agreed that this was one of our best trail breakfasts.
Packing up didn’t take long and we were surprised to see blue sky over our heads. Amazing, considering the forecast for rain by noon. Since we left at just before 10am, we hoped we’d beat the rain that was supposed to be coming.
It was an enjoyable walk back to the trailhead in the chilly 36 degree morning air. A few groups of people passed as we hiked out. As we loaded the back of the Subaru with our packs, it really started to rain – big drops! And it didn’t stop. We felt grateful and fortunate to have had such a successful New Years on the Graywolf! Happy New Years everyone! May this one be filled with more health and happiness!