After yet another week of hot temps at home, I was happy for another weekend escape - this time up into the mountains. Friday night after work, I headed east to join my parents at their cabin, and after a short drive I was greeted with a mai tai and a dinner of homemade tamales. Since Sunday was my dad's birthday, I baked my all-time favorite cake for dessert. Growing up, my dad's birthdays were always celebrated at the family cabin, and his birthday cakes - baked in a wood burning oven - always managed to be both burnt and undercooked. This cake, baked with an intentionally jiggly middle, seemed like the perfect homage to the cakes my grandmother baked in that old oven. In place of a birthday candle, my mom lit a match to stick in the cake, and amusing and convenient substitution - perhaps a new cabin birthday tradition?
Saturday morning, my mom headed home, while my dad and drove off through a maze of old logging roads east of the cabin for a hike to a quiet alpine lake. Our hike was a short one, following an old, washed out roadbed to a series of small lakes. While we had the lakes to ourselves for the afternoon, there was plenty of trash at a small campsite next to the lake outlet, including - of all things - a broken snorkel mask. We carried a small amount of the trash out with us, but I'll have to return with a good sized trash bag to carry more of the junk out. Even with all the trash it was a peaceful spot, and while my dad floated around the lake fishing, I spent a few hours reading in the sunshine. While there may be more dramatic spots to hike, I love these peaceful hikes with my dad, especially since he often manages to find solitude - a rare thing in our increasingly crowded forests!