181 forum posts
Whew, what a ride!
I got back from my first real backpack trip, and although it didn't go exactly as planned, I did enjoy it and learned a few tips for the next one. I'll throw out my thoughts, and let anyone critique them who wants.
Firstly, I drove 5 hours to get to this trail, and then started in. That's a no-no for someone like me. I would have been better off just to have drove up and slept in the car, starting fresh as possible after sleeping in a car, in the morning. The trail was about a 9 miles long loop and my original plan was to sleep over at a campsite about half way through. The reviews of the trail described a 5 hour total time, but I soon realized that these reviews were for a light daypack, and my backpack was a little less than 40 pounds. I didn't make the campsite and it started getting dark, so I pitched away from the trail overnight.
I have a condition where one of my calves cramps if I move my leg a certain way, and sure enough, in the tent, I cramped my leg. Now the decision - should I continue uphill to complete the loop, or just head back the way I came. I chose the latter. I was a little short of halfway in anyway, so the length ended up about the same. That turned out to be a very wise decision as I discovered once I was back in the car, every muscle in my body was really pissed at me, and some of my bones, also. Six miles a day spread out over the workweek day does not equal 4 miles uphill with a pack. The trip downhill was a lot quicker - 2.5 hours out versus 4.5 hours in.
I'll choose my next hike a little better, or plan this trail a little differently. I had the elevation graphs for this hike, and can now interpret them a little better as far as what I can handle.
All of my equipment performed very well. I used my fly for the tent as we had been having early morning fog at home, but none showed up at the trail, but I need to open the ventalation tabs in my fly as there was a little condensation from my breathing.
I don't have a GPS, but did take my pedometer. Although it's useless for discovering where I really am, it is really helpful for estimating my position. As I described, I did not make my planned stop for the first night, and only decided to stop based on where I was from the pedometer reading. There was not a lot to determine from my map and compass, so this worked out pretty well.
Somewhere in the reviews of any trail, there should be something that details how rocky a trail might be. I found this to be my biggest problem. Parts of the trail I was walking had some very rocky parts, not large rocks but stones. I had to pay close attention to the rocks and missed a blaze once or twice. Fortunately, I never walked to far before I realized I hadn't seen one for a while.
Hiking alone means you have to carry everything. I like the solitude, I don't like 40 pound packs.
I need to adjust my pack a little better, strap-wise and when packing it. Should be self-explanatory.
Well, that's it for now. I had a good time, got the first one under my belt, and am ready to start looking for another adventure. Thanks for all the past help from you guys.