The first backpacking trip of the year with Cisco is usually an adventure within an adventure. Cisco comes from mountain stock originally bred for hauling supplies and ore in and out of the mountainous mining regions of Mexico. Somewhat imposing at 625 lbs. and 12.4 hands, head big as a moose with mottled coloration, Cisco is one proud tough beast.
Our destination was Tiffany Lake in North Central Okanogan County, Washington State. Cousins Jeff and Jeffery and I arrived at Tiffany Springs in early October looking forward to a four day fishing trip. Cisco seemed apprehensive and nervous as he seemed to intuit his role of “Beast of Burden”. In other words our stuff his burden.
Tiffany Springs Camp Ground tops out at 6,400 ft. elevation and yes, breathing is a bit different for lowlanders at that elevation. The trail head is easy to locate and begins a slow descent for approximately one mile to the Lake. The trail is rated as “easy” and is well maintained by the forest service. It was just right for a couple of young trekkers in their mid sixties.
Approximately five years ago, a wildfire changed the landscape into a surreal mountainous portrait. The approach to Tiffany Lake seemed like we were walking in a dead zone. Cisco was cautious and on alert with huge ears constantly searching in all directions. No birds no small critters no sounds just silence. His vigilance was akin to a safety net. Watch your animal and you know when something is amiss or in the neighborhood.
As we neared the lake we were pleased that the fire had spared the area around the lake and provided a great place to camp with fantastic views. Fishing was like the days of my youth, really great. We caught lots of Eastern Brook with a few Cutthroat trout thrown in for good measure. Temperatures were in the high teens at night and mid thirties during the day. Cisco slipped the picket line one time but did not stray too far from camp. We deemed Cisco ready for an extended trip into the Hidden Lake country in one weeks time.