Had my first backpacking adventure this past weekend. I went with a great group of ladies and my favorite #1son. Poor kid. He was totally outnumbered. The following are some of the take aways from this adventure.
- 30 pounds doesn’t seem like much when you only have to lug it from your front door to your vehicle, but on your back? For almost 9 hours? Up the side of a mountain for 1900+ feet? You might as well be lugging a boulder. 30 pounds is way heavier than my small brain could comprehend.
- When trekking into the Arizona desert, one must start before the sun rises, not 9:30am.
- Do not look up to the peak. You won’t want to climb. Besides, you’re probably just looking at a saddle anyway. You’ll reach it only to discover you have another trillion feet to go, get discouraged, and cry.
- I ::must:: get a new backpack.
- If you think you have enough water, you don’t. You need more.
- All those cute posts about how to pack a backpack the right way are only true for those individuals. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
- Always be prepared for the unexpected. Like when you go a mile past the turnoff for the trailhead and you have to back track just to start. Or half your party follows a different cairn.
- Discovering you brought things you probably wouldn’t use that just made your pack heavier. Every little ounce makes a difference.
- Always. Always. Always. Stay together. Always.
- Discuss what to do in the event one sub group gets ahead of the other and you lose each other.
- Never use living things as a way to balance yourself. For example trees or bushes. *got this tip from an experienced member of the group*
- Accidents are not bound to happen, but be prepared. For a slide down the side of the mountain because I stepped a little too close to the edge. Or falling into a cactus or two because my legs were tired. Or rolling my ankle climbing down into a canyon because my legs were tired.
- Sleeping on rocks is better on a therm-a-rest air mattress and cushy sleeping bag.
- The view of the stars on top of the ridgeline was magnificent. The moon was pretty great too.
- Sometimes plans change. We wanted to go straight through the ridgeline and down the flatiron but we took that wrong turn and underestimated how much water we needed. So wisdom dictated we call it a weekend and go back the way we came.
- I prayed. A lot. Like literally. I cried a lot too.
- Make sure people know where you’re going and when you’re due back so if you don’t show up they can send out a search party.
- I’m not nearly as tough as I think I am.
Overall it was a successful first backpack adventure. Will I do it again? I believe I will. After the pain has dulled and a little time has passed so I can look back and laugh. It sure was something!