UPDATE: They're home, safe and sound. The last OK came from where they live! I asked Lamont if each of them would pick some of their favorite photos for me to share with y'all, maybe sooner, maybe later.
That's my sons, Lamont and Leland, in 1979. Lamont was three, and Leland's a few months--like a nut, I didn't write anything on the back of the photo.
The guys and their girlfriends Lindsay and Kailey are today in the middle of their three-day hiking/camping trip, from the North Burnt Lake Trailhead and back.
Not expecting them to find any cell phone signal while in the Mt. Hood National Forest, for the guys' birthdays--Lamont will be 33 on Sept. 24 and Leland will be 30 on Oct. 31--I got them a Spot, billed on their Web site as "The World's First Satellite Messenger." Actually, I got it for my peace of mind, but you'd already guessed that, right? There's an OK button that sends me an email with a link to a map that shows me their location, within moments of the OK button's being pushed. There's also a Help button, for which we have worked out a plan because they will only use it if they get back to the car and find some sort of problem there, and a 911 button which will call for professional help. The messages go to the girls' families and to my brother, too.
When my phone rang last night, showing Lamont's name on the screen, I thought, "What?" It was Leland, using his brother's cell phone to check in with me, telling me they were spending the night on that peak, where originally they had only planned to watch the sunset. Another hiker/camper they met on the trail had mentioned that he sure wish he'd decided to camp there, instead of down at a lake--I don't know which lake. Leland said the moon was so bright that they hardly needed their head lamps. He told me it was the peak labeled 4971 on the Portland Hikers Dot Org field guide topo map for Burnt Lake. I asked him why Lamont had turned on his phone, and he said that Lindsay had turned hers on and found a five bars, so Lamont tried his, too. Then Lindsay wanted to talk to me for a minute, to tell me that they could see every single light of Portland. It really did my heart good to talk with both of them and hear how much fun they were having, all four of them.
This morning at 7:45 a.m. when I saw Lamont's name on my ringing phone, I thought, "Yeah!" He repeated what the other two had told me about the moon and the lights of Portland, then he told me that Lindsay had used Google on her phone and found out that the sun was supposed to rise at 7 a.m., so they all four got up and saw it come up beside Mt. Hood, just about the same place they'd seen the moon come up last night. Wow. He told me that they would OK signal me several times close together so that I would know the location of tonight's base camp, and I wished them a continued mind-blowing trip. I know from checking the map links that they're spending tonight at Burnt Lake, something he thought they might do, even taking a swim. In a mountain lake. Wow.
Here's a bit of info from Portland Hikers about Burnt Lake:
Nice small mountain lake on the flanks of the Zigzag Ridge which connects to the southwest side of Mount Hood. Seven designated campsites around lake. As long as you're here, walk up the Burnt Lake and Zigzag Mountain Trails to East Zigzag Mountain, about a mile and 900' elevation gain away.
East Zigzap Mountain is where they spend last night. Oh, I just read the description of their original spend-the-night idea, Cast Lake, west of East Zigzag--am I ever glad they changed their mind. It offers no view of Mt. Hood!