Sunday, September 21, 2008

Backpackers Are We

So I mentioned after labor day that Lee and I were going to try an overnight backpacking trip. For whatever reason I imagined this would take place next summer--there are times I forget the details that go along with the man I married. He has an ingrained sense of adventure in many things--be it business, ambition, or recreation. He found out I was thinking next summer while all along he was thinking this month. And so the planning began.

I found a woman's backpack in the classifieds for $40--a little googling told me that would save me about $160 if I were buying the same pack retail. Sold.

A friend--and avid recreation affectionado--had a bunch of other equipment she said we could borrow, including sleeping bags where you slide the sleeping pad into a sleeve underneath the bag--i.e. no sliding off the pad. Brilliant.

We spent another $60 on little backpacking gadgets like pans, flashlight-compass, small hatchet, freezedried dinner, a visor, etc.

Lee's cousin, the fabulous Janae, agreed to watch the kids and so around noon on Friday we headed for the hills--well mountains, actually, above Ogden. I don't really know what they are called, Ogden mountains or something super creative like that? We took Tex, our blue healer, to protect us from bears and mountain lions we knew wanted to eat us for dinner.

We started on what is called Indian Trail, supposedly named because the indians would use it to cross into Ogden Canyon when water levels of the Ogden river were too high. This trail runs along the north side of the mountains and I was a little annoyed that here we are with big ol packs on our backs and we're looking into people's backyards for the first half a mile. But then it turned and offered some great views of Ogden valley, such as this one:

I ain't gunna lie to you, it was hard. We were really worried about water, since we went through three 16 oz bottles just on the walk up. I'd thought there was a stream alongside the trail, but there wasn't, so we had to share some with Tex. But, aside from a serious challenge for my glutes, I kept up with Ironman (i.e. husband who often said "Oh, do you need to rest?") About three miles up there is a split in the trail. The signs were confusing and we THOUGHT we took the trail that would take us into Coldwater Canyon, where we wanted to camp, but we actually took the trail that took us toward the Odgen Canyon trailhead. We ran into another hiker that educated us on where we really were--did I mention I managed to lose the trail map? I is a good outdoors woman, lemme tell ya! By the time we met up with this guy we were almost out of the canyon--you could hear horns honking and big trucks making the turn. Hmmm. Not quite the adventuring seclusion we were looking for. We also found a spring, so we could refil our waterbottles for Tex. Then we determined what to do next--hike back up to the fork, or hike half a mile up and make camp. We hiked half a mile and made camp:

We even built our own fire ring, my girl scout leaders would be so proud.

We had Mountain High brand Chicken a la King for dinner--quite good. Reminded me of cup o' noodles, but tasted different and although I don't like chicken, I apparently DO like freeze dried chicken after I've hiked four and a half miles (oh, we took the wrong trail for awhile before realizing that there had been no mention of scaling cliffs with 60 lb packs on our backs) We enjoyed the fire, scared some scouts out of their minds when they came down from a night hike and we let Tex go up and greet them--good times, good times--and then we went to bed only to realize we had put the tent at quite an angle. So much so that I spent most of the night trying to 'hold' a position that would keep me from sliding to the bottom. Tex hated being left outside--but there was no way he was coming in AND we might have only been a mile from the canyon road but we still had lions and tigers and bears in mind. He was our insurance policy, but kept us up since he didn't seem to sleep a wink. And then, it started to rain--of course!

So I guess it's not our kids that are cursed, it's us. Luckily, there was a really good rain fly on the tent. We pulled in our gear, Tex finally settled down under it and I tried to shut off my worrier, which only made me more worried because what if I neglected to think of one horrible thing that could befall us! I thought I would sleep like a rock because I was so tired--well, I didn't. I might have gotten a couple hours, but mostly I tried to find positions, lamented not bringing a pillow, and told tex to stop scratching at the tent.

The next morning, we got up and changed scrambled eggs for breakfast to granola bars. We were down to our 50 ounce camelbak for water and so were very conservative. My legs were killing me, while Iron man wasn't even sore. We had to hike back up to the fork in the trail, and then it was easy breezy since most of it was downhill from there.

By noon we were back in the truck and on our way to 7-11 for a Coke Slurpee. Here's our stats:

Hike in: 4 hours (with 30 minutes of that being the wrong trail)
Hike out: 2 and a half hours.

Tex was great, the food was pretty good, and the solitude of just the two of us was wonderful. Today, I am soooooo sore. My shoulders, back, bum, and legs are all incredibly stiff and sore, but I'm taking it as a challenge rather than an injury. We're hoping to do a two night hike in October somewhere down south and I'm deterimined to be in better shape that time--even though I'm quite proud of myself since I totally overpacked and had never done anything like this before. Also, I recently heard about camping with hammocks and I'm intriqued, if anyone knows anything about that, I'd love to hear your opinions. The cost of a hammock is close to the cost of a tent, so it's not cheap, but it's off the ground and a lot lighter. We also need to invest in a good water purification thingy, since the stress of thinking we would run out of water was a huge concern. I'd appreciate any advice :-)


alisha said...

I can't believe it rained...that is too hilarious! Mike said that we'll have to come up and take you guys into the Uintas sometime. I'll have to think about any of our little backpacking secrets and get back to you. I'm glad that it was mostly a success!

hi, it's me! melissa c said...

I just read a fabulous story of a woman who backpacks by herself. For the life of me,I can't remember what it is called. She fell and almost died. Dang

But Congrats! That is so great! I have ALWAYS wanted to learn to backpack but never have.

I laughed out loud about it raining! That was TOO funny! You are jinxed! he he

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen said...

Way to go, girl! You--your talents, your abilities--always amaze me.

Annette Lyon said...

Yay for backpacking! I'm duly impressed. I haven't gone on a real backpacking trip since getting married. But in my teens I did the Uintahs thing quite a bit and LOVED it. Except the rain in the tent part.

Julie Wright said...

HAHAHAAAAAAA!! You really should've called me babe. I would have totally hooked you up with the backpacking gear. Pre ruined back for me, we went backpacking a lot. I don't have one of those cool sleeping bags though . . .looks like I need to go shopping. Next year let's plan on hiking the narrows in Southern Utah. It is beautiful, it's mostly downhill, but is still a challenging hike. So much fun and scott has already agreed to carry all the heavy stuff for me so I don't end up in the hospital again :)

Unknown said...

You can find good information about light weight camping hammocks at

Crystal said...

so it's you guys that are cursed...interesting. Loved the story & the pictures!