Monday, August 3, 2009
Backpacking as a Rookie
My son Caleb and I decided several months ago that we would go backpacking in Yosemite in Aug. It was to be a Mother-Son bonding time. A great opportunity to spend 3 days together and just enjoy each other. I spent a lot of time talking to my good friend, Dan, an experienced backpacker and ultra runner, about what to expect and what to bring. I am a rookie at this. I have only backpacked twice before when the kids were little, and come to think about it, it really wasn't a backpacking trip at all. Well, we did backpack, but only a couple of miles and then we set up camp and did day hikes with the kids. Dan was kind enough to lend us his pack, bear canister, stove, and a pan. I bought a water filter and we were off!
When I couldn't get a wilderness permit for Yosemite, I decided that Kennedy Meadows out of Emmigrant Wilderness would be a perfect choice. We left at 4:30 am on Friday and drove 5 hours to the trail head. We unloaded our stuff (did I say heavy?), and began our hike anticipating going about 9 miles. We ended up finding the perfect camp site at about 8 miles and set up camp. A few others found their way to our perfect spot and asked if they could join us for dinner and conversation. Our new friend Ray told us everything about him self and we never even got to add to the conversation. Caleb and I had a lot of laughs over Backpacker Ray.
The next morning we got up early and left with a plan to hike about 9 miles. When we ran out of water at about 4 miles we had no choice except to keep moving. It was hot and the climbs over the granite were brutal. We continued on mile after mile to only find dried up creeks and brown stagnate water. We were getting desperate and kept moving. Finally after we had hiked over 18 miles, we found snow that was melting down a ravine and we carefully collected the drips. After filtering this cold water and drinking it, we enjoyed ourselves with stories of what each of us was secretly thinking as we trudged along. We camped high on a mountain above 9000 ft. and had a restless sleep with the wind howling and the night cold.
Sunday morning came and with only 7 miles to the car, we headed out. But not before we found out that we had run out of gas for the stove! We were both glad that we had hiked so many miles the day before, because it would have been a total bummer to not have food for Sunday night! Our original plan was to hike out Monday morning.
We had a great trip and it was so much fun to spend so much time with Caleb. We laughed and caught up on all kinds of subjects and I am so thankful for such an amazing child. I am excited to think of backpacking again!