Lots of stuff to catch up on here. It’ll take a few posts. First on my mind is the awesome night we spent backpacking over the weekend. I have hiked many miles and hours, but never had I camped off the trail. This was something I have been dying to do since my son and husband were introduced to it through Boy Scouts. I mean, it is perfect, really. I love to camp, but to me, the most burdensome part of camping is packing all that crap stuff! I’m always the one asking, “Do we really need that?” as the pile of gear gets higher and wider. And all the food! I like to get away from the kitchen when I camp, not just take it with me 😦 I’m not much on sandwiches, but fruit, nuts, crackers, cheese and such is enough to make me happy, since exercise and heat usually leave me quite content with just having something to digest…it doesn’t have to be a typical meal. However, of all the years I’ve camped, even as a child, I have been at a campsite surrounded with enough stuff to make me tired just thinking about packing it all back up again – not to mention putting it all away when you get home (and for some reason no one is as eager to put the stuff back as they were drag it out and add it to the pile). Now, don’t get the wrong idea. I am not, by any means a spoil-sport over the lack of attention paid to my pleas to cut back on what we take along. I love to camp, and enough so that the ceremonial packing and the unpacking of the perceived necessary gear does not damper my spirits too much. But backpacking – oh the joy! Be very assured that everyone puts much thought into what can be done without when every ounce of gear will be strapped to our backs 😉 I’ll wager that what we “need” gets less and less with experience, too! We did not hike far on this our first time, because we didn’t want to overtax ourselves and make it so difficult as to hinder our spirits for another go at it soon. I carried about 30lbs in my pack, dh and ds packed about 40-45 each, and we were careful to keep dd’s load at about 10-12.
We went 1.25 mi down the trail to a beautiful natural arch, where we explored a large rock/cave area and admired the arch close up. At the bottom of the arch was a sobering reminder to be careful – a sad shrine dedicated to a fallen hiker whose family makes an annual pilgrimmage to visit the place where they lost him.
It was dark when we finished and we put our packs back on and used headlamps to follow the trail back and find a suitable place to set up camp along the way. We ended up camping less than a mile from the trailhead on a tree-covered knoll with just enough of a view through the canopy to spy on the bright stars. Absolute heaven. Saying too much here could totally spoil it…so here’s a pic that says it all for me 🙂