Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Thing #134--Backcountry Adventure

During Tony's Boy Scout leader days, he went on high adventure hiking trips to Philmont and Boundary Waters. I've done quite a bit of tent camping with the family, but I've never done anything that could qualify for high adventure before this weekend, when I went on an overnight backpacking trip.

When we went to the Earth Day festival back in April, we met Ambre from Ginkgo Adventures, an outfitting company. She told us that some of her trips were short enough for beginners; it sounded like a good way for me to try it out and see if I liked backpacking. We signed up for a class through St. Charles County that was called "Backpacking for Adults".

We met Ambre at noon on Saturday. She provided all the gear and food, so all we had to bring were our personal items. Ambre helped us pack the backpacks with our personal things, a tent, sleeping bags and pads, and our share of the food and cooking equipment. She gave us trail snacks; we filled our water bottles and were ready to go!

We hiked for two hours, stopped to set up our camp, then day hiked (without backpacks) for another hour or so. When we got back Ambre made dinner, then started a campfire. (What would a campout be without s'mores?) Before we went to bed we learned a little bit about constellations in the night sky thanks to Dennis, a fellow hiker who brought a star chart.

I woke up Sunday to the sound of distant thunder, which became less distant, and then turned into rain. Fortunately, the rain didn't last very long; it was gone about the time I heard some of the other campers stirring. Ambre cooked a great breakfast, we broke camp, and hiked until lunch. Our adventure ended after lunch. We turned in our gear, said goodbye to Ambre, and were on our way.

I was really happy to discover that I could make it on a trip like this. I learned a little bit about how to pack a backpack, what to look for in hiking gear, how to pick a campsite, and backcountry cooking techniques. I had a great time.

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