My wife’s first overnight backpacking trip! O happy Day!

7:01 p.m. on September 18, 2012 (EDT)
2,155 reviewer rep
2,119 forum posts



We had been talking about arranging a trip for some time and finally the moment was right.


So Susan and I headed up to Mt Rogers in south-western Virginia for her first over night trip ever!






 Here we were loaded up and ready to depart from the Massie Gap backpacker parking lot.






 A good weather day to begin with was a happy occurrence!






Nice color…






 Susan was chuggin’ up the AT as we ascended Wilburn Ridge.






 We stopped for a break a quarter mile before Rhodo Gap and discovered that the sun had heated the rocks quite well and it countered the cool wind nicely.






Because my tent is so small I brought the tarp for her. But she insisted on using the tent….women….






Speaking of, I had never heard clapping and cheering for successfully hanging my food before. I’ll take all the positive reinforcement that I can get!






Here was Susan mixing a bag dehydrated three bean salad. You gotta make ‘em work for dinner of course.






We spied this little blue tent while out on a day hike from camp.






Here we were relaxing somewhere on the ridge.






How happy was I? Why happy enough to jump for joy!






A little later Susan got all “Karate Kid” on me.






Yes, one of the requirements for this trip was a full size pillow. It compressed pretty well actually. I may have to think about that one for myself down the road.






We grabbed our food and ambled about a quarter mile down the trail to eat dinner on the rocks behind the Thomas Knob Shelter and take in the sunset.






Ah yeah..






Another view from back at camp…






Another luxury was the Baby Taylor.






I don’t make fires very often but that was the right time.


We had an absolutely amazing evening of fun and relaxation. In fact, it may have been my best backcountry night ever. The fire was superb, the food good, the wine was still a bit chilled; we lay on the ground and star gazed at the brilliant night sky for a good long while. I believe I could have slept right there with my head on a rock. Eventually the temperature dropped below the point that our mutual body warmth and dwindling fire could overcome and we had to head off to the sleeping bags.







The next morning I escorted Susan to the privy which was about a quarter mile away near the shelter. Her expression sums up my feelings regarding moldering privies.







And as it turned she opted to follow my lead and go to the woods instead; less unpleasantness to be sure.










This was the camp departure picture before shoving off.







It rained on and off all morning. I prefer to carry a bumbershoot in summer even though we did have rain jackets.


We hiked back out to Rhodo Gap on the AT then took the Crest trail to see if we could run into some wild ponies.






This bull was giving us the stink eye and I kept thinking of Ashleigh’s trip report where the bull chased her. We gave it a wide berth there on the Crest trail and even circled around Pine Mountain to jump the fence and avoid passing close to him on our way back up to Rhodo Gap.






Susan was hanging in there on about mile 6 of our 8 mile return route. She had done 13 mile day hikes with me before (with more elevation gain) but never with a pack. What a trooper!







Finally we spotted some ponies (actually Susan did)! We didn’t get the close up experience but it was great to finally see them after being out there for two days with no sighting.






And here was the final pose after arriving back at the parking lot and just before the three hour drive home.





Someone started a thread about their greatest backpacking trip and I never posted in it because I really couldn’t decide. Well this may well have been my favorite trip of all time. I was finally able to enjoy my favorite person and passion simultaneously.

It was incredibly joyous and I feel blessed to have had the experience.


But I’m greedy and I want more!….my scheming has begun in earnest. Waaa.haa, haaaa



Happy Trails!

7:16 p.m. on September 18, 2012 (EDT)
15 reviewer rep
33 forum posts

Right on!

7:48 p.m. on September 18, 2012 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
3 forum posts

Looks like a wonderful time. You both looked like you were having fun and I enjoyed reading your trip report. Thanks for sharing!

8:47 p.m. on September 18, 2012 (EDT)
592 reviewer rep
1,522 forum posts

SO NICE! Great way to enjoy each other's company!

11:07 p.m. on September 18, 2012 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
430 forum posts

I wish my wife would do that.  She won't even go on short dayhikes with me.

Keep building up to longer and longer trips, and before long she'll support plans for you to do some dream trips.  If she comes along she can't complain that you are spending all your vacation time away from her.

When you get her into long enough trips, maybe she'd like to come out here and visit Sarah's Lake.  I'd gladly go there again.

10:31 a.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
775 reviewer rep
2,162 forum posts


This is SO great! I loved the part about your food hanging skills being cheered and applauded  :) 

I may have to try the umbrella sometime. 

I often use extra clothes or a jacket in a dry bag as a pillow, but I sleep far better with a real pillow, even a small or half size one. I've been meaning to hack one of our feather pillows in half and sew it into two pack pillows. Would be great for air travel as well. 

You look like you had a truly brilliant trip. It is rare that I get my girl to go out with me, too, so I am jealous! 

11:45 a.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
271 reviewer rep
1,866 forum posts

Looks like you were on cloud nine and the wife also...It's good to share such wonderful experiance's together.Was a great location and report

12:12 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
6,158 reviewer rep
1,625 forum posts

You're a stud Patman!

Two tents reminds me of old sitcoms where husband and wife had seperate beds.   

You motivated me to see if my wife wants to venture a short trip or two.






12:44 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
199 forum posts

you took your wife to the best place for her 1st backpacking trip.!!!

I took my gf there after she saw my pictures of the area and the wild ponies. She got her wish and Mt Rogers is probably her favorite place to go

12:55 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
2,155 reviewer rep
2,119 forum posts

Hey thanks for the comments everyone! This was a long time coming for me. It was a big deal for Susan to spend a night out on the mountain like that…in our 24 years together she had only even car camped a handful of times.

I’m greatly encouraged but of course must curb my enthusiasm and take it slow so it as to keep everything at maximum enjoyment levels. :)

@John (lamertiana) I don’t when or if she’ll be ready for the type of trips that you do but I fully intend to contact you off-line about next summer. I plan on flying out there next year to experience the Sierra and was wondering if you would be willing to repeat that trip.


@Jeff (FromSagetoSnow) Lol, I don’t own a packable tent that we can both fit in or I would have brought it. I’m sure Susan would have preferred being even a little closer in the middle of the night. She told me she got up for the call of nature once and got a little freaked out by the night sounds. I should have mentioned to her that the wind will cause the tent to make noises; she thought something was brushing up against it a few times. I spent a few minutes of my lunch break reading tent reviews and looking around for something suitable that will fit us both.

2:56 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
1,387 reviewer rep
1,339 forum posts

CONGRATULATIONS! Kudos to your amazing wife, and to you for convincing her to go with you.

You seem to be one of the few here lucky enough to be able to go hiking with their spouse.

3:38 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
775 reviewer rep
2,162 forum posts


If you guys go out again before you buy 2man,  give me a shout and you are more than welcome to borrow one of mine! 

I don't think my wife would even consider going at this point if she knew she would be in a tent by herself! 


Jeff, I thought the same thing about the two tents :) 

5:11 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
33 reviewer rep
85 forum posts

excellent trip report, probably my favorite one you have done. your joy came across very well. can't wait until my wife and i can get out ourselves. nothing better than laying under some stars with her.

6:27 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
25 reviewer rep
3,167 forum posts

Congratulations.  Keep making it easy for your wife and she will want to go again.  I would recommend a new shelter big enough for two.  It is one of the great things about camping with a spouse, and she will feel more secure.

6:47 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Most excellent!

I'm glad you guys got to go together.

Mike G.

10:51 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
1,387 reviewer rep
1,339 forum posts

jptrain said:

your joy came across very well.

Yes. That was the word I was looking for. Lucky man.

1:08 a.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
2,829 reviewer rep
921 forum posts

Many happy returns!

8:35 a.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
606 forum posts

Im so jealous, my wife wont go with me either. Im gonna use this tr to show her how big the smiles on both your faces were. It is obvious you both had a great time. Im lucky to get my wife to camp on our property. I have a nice ltlle spot on a river just out of sight of our house and I get her out there maybe three nights a year. Congrats on getting her to go and keeping her happy on your trip! It shows your skills, its not easy to keep a non-hiking woman content and comfortable in the woods. I gotta try that full size pillow in the hood deal. Sure beats a nylon stuff sack in a tshirt so it wont slide around all night.

2:21 p.m. on September 21, 2012 (EDT)
275 reviewer rep
1,369 forum posts

Mt Rogers is about the only place I'd consider taking Little Mitten as the trails are easy and the views stupendous and if ya get lonely there's always the AT nearby along with the roving dayhikers. And the overnight parking lot makes the whole thing convenient.

First time I ever took a full size pillow on a backpacking trip was this year on the BMT to Big Frog and after 12 days it ended up in a roadside trash can.  Weird.

12:43 p.m. on September 25, 2012 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
28 forum posts

So glad for you Patman!

It reminds me my first overnight backpacking with my wife last year!  Confort for her and feel of adequate safety were the key to the success: thick mattress, pillow, carrying much of her load, sleeping in the same tent. 

Good tricks for call of nature in the woods were extremely important for her.

Maybe your wife will like my wife's trip report:

We bought a tent for two this year and went for two more two-day backpacking trips.  I'll post a small TR.

The tent we bought is MSR Hubba Hubba.  Roomy enough (we can sit without problem), install in a snap and two doors, which were all appreciated by her


1:18 p.m. on September 25, 2012 (EDT)
2,155 reviewer rep
2,119 forum posts


thanks for the reminder, i actually mentioned a few things about your report to her ( I think I did show her back when is was posted last year). That was definitely part of my research and inspiration!

I've been eyeing the Hubba Hubba as well! In fact debating it versus the Hoop. I've always admired MSR tents.


Please do share the TR...




2:13 p.m. on September 26, 2012 (EDT)
848 reviewer rep
3,890 forum posts

This is a great trip report, Patman! You and your wife look so happy and sweet together. I'm glad you got out together and had a good trip.

12:26 p.m. on September 28, 2012 (EDT)
4,096 reviewer rep
603 forum posts


I am glad y'all had such a good time! I am glad Susan enjoyed it! I didn't think I would like backpacking at first. The THOUGHT of carrying my own pack and sleeping out in the woods pretty much appalled me. But Jay and our friends kept going and talking about how much fun it was and I finally tried it. I have been hooked ever since. My keys to success were epic views, having appropriate warm clothing, comfortable sleeping pad, and my Montbell sleeping bag lol. I can totally relate to Susan wanting to stay in the tent. It just feels more safe and warm!

I am very happy that the bull didn't get y'all! He looked about as sweet as the bull who chased me!


The pictures are great, as always! I really enjoyed them! I hate that y'all didn't get an up close pony experience. They were ALL over the place last time we went!


April 24, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: Isle Royale Backpacking Trip Report (9/2 - 9/9) Newer: A night on the fire tower (Sterling Loop’GSMNP)
All forums: Older: Congratulations, bheiser1! Newer: WTT: Dana Design Beavertail Shovit for Patagonia Nano Puff