Finally, after a three year hiatus, we completed another backpack! On the hottest, most humid weekend (to date) of Summer 2014, we shouldered our backpacks and hit the trail with friends, Sonya and Mac. Backpack #75 is in the log book!!
We began our adventure mid-afternoon in the back of Abrams Creek Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our goal was modest, a 3.5-mile hike to Campsite 17 and back the next day. I would say our real goal was to determine if my husband, after several bicycle wrecks resulting in surgically implanted hardware, could withstand the strain that a heavy pack is guaranteed to produce.
Backpacking can be a very rewarding experience and at the same time, very humbling. No matter what shape you think you are in, a heavy pack and a steep climb up the side of a mountain will tell you different. We made it to the top of the mountain and back down the other side. Our legs were tired and borderline wobbly but our pace was strong and John had no issues with the pack.
Rain was threatening as we arrived in Campsite 17. We scrambled to get camp set up and threw our packs in the tents just as the sky opened up. Our little wilderness home felt snug and safe as we listened to the rain hitting the thin, nylon walls. Luckily the tent seams had not developed leaks since we last used it.
Not our best hot and sweaty look but happy nevertheless. We can report that we slept comfortably on the ground and were able to crawl out of the tent with minimal grunts and groans. Arthritis has not set in just yet!!
The downed wood around camp was soaking wet but we were persistent about lighting a campfire. After much effort before and during dinner, I finally remembered the “shaved wood” trick and we succeeded in getting a nice (not quite roaring) fire going just after dinner. We enjoyed decaf and marshmallow roasting before bedtime.
John and Mac preparing to pump water for camp
Rhododendron in bloom along the trail
Abrams Creek (in front of Campsite 17)
Due to health issues, Sonya and Mac had not been backpacking for almost 10 years. We spent a lot of time talking about some of our early trips and as always, making plans and dreaming about later trips. They are such a joy to be around!!
The adventure was over too quickly and we were back in the thick of work and family issues. It has been two weeks since we went backpacking. The tent and equipment are clean and dry, our sore muscles are rested and I have been working on my weekend backpack gear list. We have plans to go again, but not likely until mid-August. This summer is flying by and somehow our next few weekends have been spoken for. Until then, the memories of this backpack will keep me dreaming of the next!
Hope you are making great memories this summer! Thanks for reading.