Jaclynn Wilkinson


Diving Back In



Clynn and I are back from our second weekend at Sheep Lake and Diving Back In to August wedding season!

We intentionally blocked off two weekends in a row for some time in the mountains/vacationing. What we didn’t plan on was there being no moon the first trip we made. Clynn had a specific shot in mind he wanted to take and messed up his astrological charting by one week.

Luckily, Clynn’s parents had scheduled taking the kiddos the first weekend. Then, when we realized the moon cycle was a week off from what we thought, my parents were able to watch them the following weekend. We’re so grateful for our family!

You might remember the photo I used for my last blog post “Checking Out”.

This is a lake that we can see from our summit point hiking from Sheep Lake. We now know its name to by Crystal Lake.

The weekend before last, we took this image and said we’d continue our hike the next week to camp there. We assumed, being a few more miles in, there would be even less people.

We couldn’t have been more wrong.

As we hiked we noticed there were more and more people. However, we were almost the only couple/people hiking with packs this far in. Most hikers had their CamelBak, hiking sticks, and that’s about it.

People were impressed we were doing the hike with overnight packs (and camera gear) and many asked us if we were on the Pacific Crest Trail journey. (Hike from Canada to Mexico).

Looking back, we should have seen the warning signs…

We thought once we turned sourdough gap, it would be a straight shot down to the lake….nope.

Even though the lake is in a deep valley, the trail winds around in both uphill and downhill spurts.

We finally made it to Crystal Lake, dropped our packs, and went to sit by the lake to recover for a minute. We had mentally prepared to stay put until about 5:00pm the following day.

Cue Ranger Rick.

Ranger Rick comes down the trail not five minutes after we sat down to kick us out.

He let us know the site was full as far as over night camping goes and that we’d have to keep going to find somewhere to set up camp. He gave us (veteran & eagle scout) a long talking to about how we shouldn’t ever walk off the trail because we took five steps into grass to get to the lake…and it’s a “delicate eco-system”.

I’m sorry, but the reason we go out to the mountains is to get away from rules and law and absurd policies that isolate us from the world we were born into. We hiked eight miles with overnight packs for freedom…not policies more strict than if we were downtown Seattle.

As we hiked out to find a new spot, we vowed to find somewhere new.

We don’t blame Ranger Rick. There were A TON of people out there. We’re glad he’s protecting the beauty of Crystal Lake.

To be fair, there was a sign on the way in that let us know we needed a permit to camp there and that we were entering new territory…However, we have seen these policies not enforced so often and figured that would be the case here, as well.

Clynn and his friends had been going out to this nearly “secret location” since they were kids. Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap really blew up in the last few years as secret got out.

For now, the economy is doing well. People are happy and spending more time in nature. We love that.

However, we don’t go to the mountains to run into people every quarter mile. A person here and there is great, but that was insane.

We found a valley where no one was camping. Hiking through, but not staying the night. We called it quits and set up the tent.

After setting up camp we decided to take a nap until golden hour when we’d head back up the mountain to prep Clynn’s shot.

We were so exhausted from our 9 or so mile hike that we didn’t wake up until blue hour.

I sat up with a start and nudged Clynn….after a quick debate on letting him sleep and missing the shot…

I could tell Clynn debated skipping it, too, but after brief hesitation unspoken, we sneakered-up, grabbed our headlamps and camera gear, and headed out of the valley.

Now, I know many of you are excited to see “the shot” Clynn wanted to take…well…The one he wanted is for his brand. Not this one. He’s been dreaming up a brand and a website for a couple years now and he’s prepping to go live. I’ll be sure to give him a shout out when he’s up and running.

The shot I planned to take didn’t turn out…We got up there late, spent allot of time on Clynn’s shot. Then, the moon was setting too fast for long exposure. I also realized my tripod was slowly slipping while taking the shots resulting in blurry stars. I think my lens was not a great one for what I wanted. The moon was way too far away and my 70-200 was too heavy for long exposure with my tripod. I’ll share it here anyway…

After being sore and defeated by missing out on the experience we were expecting, we decided to pack up a day early and head out to Prosser to stay in a hotel the night before we needed to pick the kiddos back up.

This was definitely the highlight of our trip this go around.

Quick Tip: When staying at hotels or airbnb’s, always call/email ahead and ask if there is an early check-in or late check-out option.

Clynn and I ALWAYS do this and 8 times out of 10, we are able to extend our stay by several hours for free.

We were able to check in at 2:00 instead of 3:00 and get a check out time the next day at 1:30 instead of 11:00!!! All we had to do was ask. An extra 3.5 hours meant more time for sleeping, more time for breakfast, more time for long late night walks.

We checked in, slept for six hours, woke up and had long philosophical conversation about life & John Dee’s Glyph/Monas Hieroglyphica, went back to sleep at 3am, woke up in time for breakfast at the hotel cafè, recapped our conversation the night before with our biggest take-aways, then headed out to pick up our tiny humans!

It was the perfect way to end our last long weekend just us two during this busy season!

In conclusion, always make time to be alone with your spouse. ESPECIALLY after having kiddos. I know it’s not as easy for some couples as we are so blessed with local (or semi-local) family to lend support to our relationship. Making US a priority above our little ones keeps our family together.

Clynn and I have changed so much since we said “I Will”. (Mormon version of “I Do”.) More than most. Long late night conversations (and let’s be real, lots of sex) and recaps on those conversations have kept us on the same page with each other as often as possible…even when we’ve mentally lived in different worlds.

This may be my longest post yet, but I’m so grateful for my marriage to Clynn.

I hope my couples know it’s the most amazing journey and worth every battle.

Sincerely, Jaclynn


We’re back at our desks and ready to finish off wedding season strong! ♥

Previous Posts:

Sheep Lake (Round 1 of 2019)

Wedding: Red Barn Studios

Why I Choose Wedding Photography

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  1. Mindy says:

    That’s a beautiful shot!
    I remember going hiking as kids too and never seeing anyone else out there. Not like it used to be anymore.

  2. Alexandra Carlton says:

    I need to start reading more and more of your blog posts!

    Gary and I definitely need to set aside time for ourselves, it seems we never have time together away from the kids!

    • Jaclynn Wilkinson says:

      Making the time is so so worth it!! Especially if you have family/friends willing and ready to help with a night or weekend away. 🙂


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