Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back from backpacking

Since taking over the backpacking meetup group, I have been getting out on hikes and backpacking trips more often. Something about it being the end of the normal kayaking season is also having an effect on things. I just recently lead a three day two night trip out to the Shenandoah National Park with a group of 8 other people. I had 6 people the first day and night and three more joined up with us Saturday morning. The hike in was 3.5 miles and was all down hill. This actually turned out to be a good thing as it gave me an idea of who would be able to handle doing the 6 miles the next two days. As it was, I had to hike out two people as they just could not handle it. One woman had minor issues with depth perception and balance and opted to leave early, but the guy was having more issues with gear weight, over planning, and being badly out of shape. He also wrote in his comments afterwards that the trail wasn't as I had billed it. I feel it was, but that is personal opinion. I convinced him to leave as well.

I caught up with the rest of the group via a side trail but since everyone was concerned with the upcoming ice storm, we opted to chance the trip and ended up going back to the cars and driving to a shelter that was close to the road. This also gave us access to a privy, bear hanger, and more importantly a fire. We had such a party that night. I felt bad that the woman left early as she would have been a great addition to the group spirit. There was something about the other guy though that most people seemed relieved he had left.

We drove out fairly early the next morning and everything was covered in ice, the parking lot and roads were like skating rinks. It was slow driving but the rain eventually cleared the ice from the roads and we got out. We hit a nice restaurant, although certainly not the closest and enjoyed a large hardy breakfast. Based on the trip comments, it seemed everyone had a great time. The weather was cold, but we had clear skies the first night, perfect for limited star gazing through the branches. The second night we had a great big fire and eggnog; lots of nog, light on the egg.



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