Thursday, May 19, 2016

Seriously Backpacking #lifestyle

Back in March, I decided to get (HAT) High Adventure Team, Basic Backpacking certified for the boy scouts. As a cub scout leader, I could introduce the appropriate high adventure awards to my pack and as a Committee Member of my older son’s boy scout troop, I could help the boys earn high adventure awards. 

Truth be told, I think I like scouting just as much as my boys. I love getting out in nature and exploring different places.

And it doesn’t get better than going backpacking. Everything you need is in your backpack so you better pack it tight and just what you need!

I took the Indoor Session in March and now it was time for the practical, Outdoor Session.

Our destination: A 5 mile hike to Bear Trap Camp in the Los Padres National Forest.

The challenge: heading out we had 1,000 foot change in elevation from 3900 feet to 5000 and two hills.

On the journey: our HAT facilitator, Bill, myself, Steve and Robert. Along for the ride were my husband and my 14 year old son.

We met up in Ojai at the local cafĂ© for b-fast. I’m not much for eggs so I got a Belgium waffle and bacon.  

After coffee and food we drove approximately 30 miles north of Ojai and arrived at Reyes Creek Campground. We parked our cars at the trailhead and checked our backpacks.

Mine fit alright. Empty it was about 5 pounds. Full, it was 28 pounds! I had a pillow, change of clothes, 10 essentials, camp shoes, personal hygiene items, sleeping bag, mat, and lunch. I didn’t even carry the tent. My husband did. Bless him. I think his backpack was around 35 pounds.

Since I figured I would be the slowest, I offered to go first and be the pacesetter. It was sunny, but not too hot. Almost immediately we were climbing. I had to control my breathing. It leveled out a bit then we hit the switchbacks. That made going up the first hill easier. I had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath, but I tried not to linger. They say you should go about 2 mph and allow 1 hour for 1000 feet of elevation which proved accurate. Around 2 we arrived at Upper Reyes Campground #1 – a 3 mile journey. We had lunch – chicken from a can, lettuce, and pita which I packed along with a cutie orange. And to be honest, I felt like I was starving. I haven’t eaten like that since the Army!

After lunch we hiked up another hill with switchbacks and then down the other side. At the bottom was a full, running creek and Bear Trap Campgrounds. It was 4 pm! Cool air settled over us and I dug out my sweat jacket, glad I brought it, but to be honest, I didn’t pack the right clothes. I didn’t have a set of pants or thermals so that was a learning experience for me. I got a campfire going and we talked about different types of cooking stoves when backpacking. We discussed the “bear”muda triangle, where to set up tents and cooked a jambalaya in a big pot. I loved it. 

I hung out by the fire to stay warm before retiring for the night. Thankfully no bears paid us a visit, but I did smell a skunk trolling through our campsite. The next morning, I was the last to get up. I crept toward the fire, warmed up, ate some oatmeal and drank some camp coffee. It was Trader Joes. Highly recommended.

My husband and son helped me pack up my tent since I was lagging behind. After taking some pictures, we were off. It was 830 amish. Immediately, we were climbing up a steep hill. I had to stop once to catch my breath, but after that I was good. We made good time to the Upper Reyes Campground, took a break, and kept on hiking. We arrived at the trailhead around 1130. I was tired and sore, but thrilled too. I did it! Not bad for being 47. I even think I lost 5 pounds. Now I’m looking forward to bringing hiking and backpacking adventures to my son’s boy scout troop. 

Does anyone else hike? I’d love to hear about your hiking or backpacking adventures and tips.

Scout on!
PS – Hope you like the pictures. 

1 comment:

  1. You have better stamina than me! Carrying a backpack would be difficult enough! When we go to Wisconsin, I'm happy we have many of the comforts of home in our little cottage, even wifi!