Kane Lake and Ciera's Ultimatum

When she was 15 my daughter told me that this (Kane Lake) was her last backpack. “Backpacking is your thing, Dad, not mine, and I’m done.” Ouch, that hurts. The occasion was a family backpack to Kane Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in Idaho, and one which my family has visited many times as a fall hike. That trip was quite a few years ago judging by the Kelty Pack Laura is wearing, and the CD player Ciera is carrying.

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On the trip were Ciera (15), Laura (24), Jim (10), wife Tuckie and me. Laura had been patient with me about backpacking in her youth. She and her sister Deah went on a yearly backpack with me, but I knew they were just humoring their Dad. Ciera and Jim had been on 2-4 backpacks per year since Jim was 6. Little did I know that Ciera had about had it with backpacking.

Being young and strong, the girls rocketed up the unmaintained 3 mile trail, and we didn’t see them till we got to Kane Lake.

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We sat around a campfire that night, and Laura led us in a discovery game. She had a deck of cards with such questions as “what was your scariest moment?” and other interesting questions, and we each had to give our scariest moment. There was no internet, no TV, no phone, it was pretty quiet, but I think we all knew that we did more talking that night than we had in years, or ever maybe. The next day, Jim and I did a little fishing, and Ciera, Laura and Tuckie went looking for a place to swim. The lake is about 9000’ in elevation, so the water was pretty cold.

Jim and I worked our way around the lake, and soon found ourselves at a big rock where Laura and Ciera were trying to get up the courage to jump into the cold water. Jim joined them on the rock.

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They made a pact, that they would count to three and all jump at the same time. They counted ONE, TWO, and THREE, and only Jim jumped!

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It was ice cold water, and deep, and he went in all the way. He had a look of shock or terror when he surfaced, then he had a look of anger. He swam out and was going to push Laura and Ciera into the water. They calmed him down and said they would both go in and he didn’t have to push them.

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After the first jump Ciera dove in about 5 more times. We had our young (at the time) dog Ginger with us, and we did more campfire talking that night, and ate some of the fish Jim and I had caught.

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it was the second night that both Laura and Ciera had a momentous statement. Laura said “I get it now Dad. I’ll go backpacking with you any time.” Ciera said just the opposite, she said “This is my last backpack, Dad, I’ve had it with backpacking.”

Of course the former was very heartwarming, and the latter statement had me a little scared.

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Ciera didn’t backpack for a few years, but in the long run I didn’t have to worry much. She went to U of Idaho, and when the sorority and fraternity kids went camping, Ciera was the only one who knew how to start a stove or set up a tent. She also met her fiancee on those campouts, in which she became the camp Mom, a role that she loved.

Laura has done several week long backpacks with me, and hiked with me on the Camino Frances in Spain in 2018. She and I did a loop backpack around Castle Peak, a 5 day backpack in the Thousand Island Lake area of California, and a backpack in the Sawtooths we call the “Sawtooth High Route”, and it didn’t get that name for the elevation.


Ciera found that backpacking was a lot more fun with her fiancee John Millick, and I can live with that. She Joined me for 3 weeks on the Camino in 2018, a backpack to Washington Lake in Idaho, and we have others planned in Idaho or Washington.