Backpacking — for real this time

As a send off to an amazing summer here in the PNW, we ventured out on another backpacking trip, only for real this time. The hike…4 miles. The elevation climb…2700 ft. The verdict…I was grossly unprepared for how difficult this would be. I figured that I had done hikes similar before, so I’d be totally fine. Boy, was I wrong! This was the most grueling hiking experience I’ve ever had, truly pushing myself to the limit, motivating myself with thoughts like “mind over matter” and (from the movie Finding Nemo) “just keep swimming”. With that said, it was glorious! I was so proud of myself and felt such a sense of accomplishment. The view is truly breathtaking.

My home for the weekend.

My home for the weekend.

For this trip, we needed to pack very light because the hike was so tough. My pack was about 25 lbs and consisted of food for my husband and I, a pot for boiling water, utensils, my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothes, toiletries and first aid kit. For the hike in, I wore a pair of denim cut offs with a tank and long sleeve hooded tee, wool socks and hiking boots. I packed a basic tee and an extra tank, yoga pants, fleece pajama pants (doubled as a pillow), extra socks and undies, my swimsuit and water shoes. Here is the look for day 1.

Pretty sure that I'm asking my hubby to carry my pack for me.

Pretty sure that I’m asking my hubby to carry my pack for me.

For food, we had to keep it to the bare minimum, so we had to be strategic and deliberate. We went to Fred Meyer and hit the camping section for freeze dried meals in a bag. They are kind of pricey @ $10.00/bag but suuuper convenient and very filling, so totally worth it. In the pic below, you can see that we packed almonds, peanut butter and rice cakes, oatmeal and tuna packets. We had to pick up some crackers and dried fruit, so there was a Trader Joe’s trip after this pic was taken. **Side note, we basically raided our pantry and made use of what we already had.

Blanca Lake Food

Sodium central — of course, after the trip we came up with great ideas, like apples and baby carrots.

When we arrived, it hit me that we had no camping chairs and that there would be no benches or picnic tables. Our campsite was definitely primitive, with a fire pit and a couple logs for sitting. Let me tell you, after that hike, a log was a beanbag chair to me! Anyway, we got smart and used our sleeping pads to sit on and really sprawl out. Best.Idea.Ever. See?

Gettin' some zzzzzz.

Gettin’ some zzzzzz.

As for the items that we needed to function for the weekend… a water purifier and a hatchet. The lake water is gorgeous but unsafe to drink, so we filled the bladder with lake water and hung it from a tree so  the filtration system could work its magic. A large portion of our food required hot water to cook, so between that and drinking water, we went through a lot of water and this worked like a charm. There’s also no way that we could have packed in enough water to get us through the weekend. As for the hatchet…why, for chopping wood, of course! Being able to chop wood provides a nice warm fire, and that means cooking and keeping the bugs away. There are, of course, a ton of super cool, fancy pants backpacking items out there, but these were the ones that we simply could not do without.

Now, I just have to share some of the great photos my husband took.

DSCF1218

Mia the camper, taking a rest.

Enjoying my only beer of the weekend. They are far to heavy to carry up that trail.

Enjoying my only beer of the weekend. They are far to heavy to carry up that trail.

The boys went on a hike and got this great shot of our camp. That's our blue tent!

The boys went on a hike and got this great shot of our camp. That’s our blue tent!

The stars were amazing on the first night.

The stars were amazing on the first night.

Here they are ladies and gentlemen, our amazing friends.

Here they are ladies and gentlemen, our amazing friends.

This trip was fantastic, but we really are into the whole camping thing and have been for years. Here’s why:

1) Nature’s beauty

2) Being unplugged

3) Really connecting with each other & friends

4) It’s cheap

For this excursion we spent a whopping $10 for the parking pass, about $50 on food/alcohol and $12 for a headlamp for me. That brings us to a grand total of $72 for 3 days/2 nights. We do have a lot of gear that we have accumulated over the years, but if you shop off season and scour the internet for deals, you can get yourself everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors.

This was an awesome experience, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I hope you had a great weekend and are giving summer a proper send off.

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