Roland point - ross lake
7-2 to 7-3 2022
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After months of hiking and climbing, Elena and I agreed we needed to break up the monotony and try a different sport for the weekend. After searching through our options, she suggested we head for Ross lake and do some boat-in camping for the night. After sleeping outside the ranger station in Marblemount for the night, I managed to get a camping permit for Roland Point.
By evening time, after getting the permits, I noticed my nose getting a little stuffy. COVID had been working its way through my house during the week. So I felt like I knew where this weekend was about to go. But After two shots, a booster, and two COVID infections, I thought I would be fine by morning.
By morning I was noticeably ill. Two at-home tests quickly showed that it was time to quarantine. But I already had my permits in hand, boats loaded onto the top of my car, and all the camping gear packed. After a chat, Elena decided it wasn’t worth the risk of being around me since we had a date set to climb Mount Rainier in a week. So I headed out alone to enjoy some time under the stars.
The first part of the day paddling up Diablo lake was uneventful. There were a thousand people enjoying time on the lake. The weather was beautiful and, despite the COVID infection, I felt great just paddling along the lake.
After taking the boat portage and getting onto Ross Lake, the conditions got a little dicey. The wind was kicking up, and the kayak I borrowed from my sister is not made for rough water. At least not for someone inexperienced. She had warned me nobody had ever used it without tipping over at least once. I got close two or three times, but I managed to stay upright the whole time.
The campsite at Roland point is nice and secluded. It is limited to just two tent sites and has a little cove that’s shielded from the rest of the lake. After parking my boat, I headed off to check out the views from Roland point.
While enjoying the view across the lake, I heard the faint sound of someone screaming. It took me a moment to realize that the voice was screaming at me. I could barely make out a “help me!”. Around a hundred yards offshore was an an orange life jacket waving around. Despite being worn from COVID and hours of paddling a boat, I hopped into my kayak to see if I could offer assistance.
When I got out to the motor boat, there was one lady screaming, “thank you!”. I quickly asked what was wrong. She relayed that she had run out of gas, was at the mercy of the wind for over an hour, and tried to wave multiple people down to no avail. Being in my kayak, I asked what I could even do for her. She asked if I would paddle to Cougar Island where she had seen another motor boat.
After paddling over to the other campers and getting her some help, I headed back to Roland Point. I used my last energy to pull my boat back up on shore, bundled up in my jacket and started a roaring fire. The rest of the evening was relaxed, eating campfire taco’s and watching the sunset over Jack mountain. I headed off to bed feeling drained. Maybe COVID and paddling are not meant to be mixed.
When I woke up, the weather had done a 180. Heavy rain was hitting my tent, and the wind outside sounded fierce. I laid there for a good 2 hours just listening to the weather. I kept hoping that maybe it would break just long enough for me to a make a run for it. Finally around noon it subsided. I ran for my boat, packed everything as fast as possible and booked it for the portage spot.
From the start of my trip back from Roland point, I paddled into the wind. It felt like eternity getting to the portage spot. Once there, I sat on the dock panting for around 20 minutes. I didn’t want to pay the portage both ways. So I brought wheels along for the return journey. By this time I was done. Succumbing to the two days of paddling, poor weather, and COVID.