My First Backpacking Trip- Day 2

20140610-080507-29107877.jpgYesterday, I left you sipping a hot cup of tea, trying to recover from a looonnnngggg day of hiking.20140610-080842-29322066.jpgThis is where we camped for the night. I was really quite thrilled that we were the only ones there. Superman, Adam and I snuggled up in the tent, which turned out not to be very comfortable. I think Adam and I tossed and turned every 15 minutes. Superman was thoughtful in giving me the sleeping bag, but didn’t realize the blanket he had for himself wasn’t long enough to cover his knees. So he woke up in the middle of the night rustling about, with the headlamp on, digging around for some clothes to put on. At night the wind whips up and the temperature drops pretty quickly.

20140610-081233-29553499.jpgThomas was straight, stringing his Enu between two trees, putting a sleeping pad to insulate from the bottom and wrapping up in a 30 degree sleeping bag.

20140610-082844-30524599.jpgBedrooms are all set, now it’s time for the kitchen. Superman has his fancy pot and Snow Peak stove/fuel. Amazing what one pot and some water can do to fill you up.

20140610-083120-30680429.jpgDinner options: Chicken Risotto, Chili Mac, Jerk Chicken or Mac n’ Cheese?

20140610-083245-30765049.jpgWhile waiting for the water to boil, we snack on some hooti-erbs, (or as some of you more sophisticated may say, appetizers.) When backpacking, one must consider weight and freshness. Apples? Too heavy. Cheese? Good for first day.

20140610-084003-31203412.jpgThe boiling water is poured directly into the bag, stirred, then bag is sealed to let food rehydrate. To keep from having to waste water by cleaning dishes and pots, we all just ate out of the bag!

20140610-084233-31353917.jpgAs every good Boy Scout knows, when handling a knife, be aware of the “blood circle”. (I have total respect for this idea after seeing a bunch of knuckleheaded 10 year old boys running around with pocket knives, but when my guys explained it, I died laughing.) The Blood Circle is the arms length area around you that could possibly cut someone if you have a knife in your hand. So here is Thomas demonstrating this safety measure.

20140610-085014-31814695.jpgBefore retiring to our sleeping quarters, we had to tie up a “bear bag”. Bears have a highly sensitive sense of smell and can sniff out peanut butter and granola bars from miles away. The bears don’t care that your food is the tent, they’ll get through the nylon tent like its Saran Wrap.

20140610-085648-32208642.jpgSo you put all the food in a sac and tie it high in a tree. Our only problem was finding a tree with a strong limb that stuck out. Luckily, we weren’t too concerned about the bears.

20140610-085932-32372319.jpgDay 2 we arose to chilly temperatures that warmed up quickly. Breaking down camp was quick and easy, so after two cups of coffee we were ready to go. Our shuttle driver warned us about a bike race that would be happening when we got to Carver’s Gap, so we were hoping to see a hot dog stand.

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20140610-090335-32615898.jpgThe entire 3.5 mile hike to Carvers Gap, we talked about how good a hot dog would taste.

20140610-090519-32719240.jpgYes, the rhododendrums and the surrounding area was gorgeous…..but mmmmm….hot dogs….

20140610-090842-32922001.jpgAs we hiked out of the woods at Carvers Gap we heard lots of cheering.

“For me?!?”

Ok. Maybe not.

20140610-091007-33007668.jpgThere was a toilet! But no hot dogs.

20140610-091046-33046090.jpgWe pressed on.

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20140610-091238-33158936.jpgWe hiked through an area where the Cloudland Hotel used to stand in the 1880’s, but was taken down in the 1920’s.

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20140610-091819-33499797.jpgThis area is known for its Flame Azaleas. I’ve never seen this color before! Absolutely beautiful!

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20140610-091935-33575523.jpgJane Bald is a good spot for a break. Even the birds snack on Cheetos.

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20140610-092033-33633511.jpgAfter hiking through the forest all day yesterday, today feels like we’re in a totally different country.

20140610-092406-33846566.jpgAt the Stan Murray Shelter we met up some friendly hikers. Sometimes we just need to love on a dog to keep us going.

20140610-094056-34856469.jpgEven the woods are a sight to behold with the lush vegetation.

20140610-094154-34914372.jpgBut seeing this Big Red Barn was heaven to my eyes! This is where we would sleep for the night.

20140610-094302-34982068.jpgThe FitBit says I hiked 10.9 miles and I believe it.

20140610-094345-35025941.jpgI know you don’t want to see this, but yes that is my toenail that has popped off on my left foot. Ouch!

20140610-094443-35083682.jpgYup, I’m pooped. Yea, my feet hurt. But with a hot cup of tea, 2 ibuprophen, a Twix Bar, my flip flops and this view! I am good.

The end of day 2. I’ll finish up tomorrow telling you about this adventure of mine. I’ve even come up with a top 10 list of things I learned from my first backpacking experience, which I know you won’t want to miss!

Thanks for dropping by

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