So, kiddo number one, only by age, and I went backpacking a few months ago.
It was…an interesting experience.
I researched, researched, and then researched some more–big surprise right!?! We, and by “we” I mean I, finally settled on Afton State Park.
There are a few reasons for this:
For starters, being that this was our first trip, I didn’t want to spend a fortune on supplies. I mean, I was going to get what we needed, but then make do with other camping supplies we already had.
Second, and it sort of goes along with the first reason, they had a water supply in the middle of the campsites. Getting, and learning how to use, a water filter was not on the agenda.
Thirdly, it looked like a beautiful area. What more do you need? Seriously though, I weighed the distances that we would need to hike versus the water, versus the supplies we would need.
So, Afton State Park. Talk about gorgeous! Beautiful scenery, right on the St. Croix River.
My Momma’s intuition should have kicked in when we stopped at the Office to check-in…and they told us we could change sites if we wanted to. Or when the lady asked if we were prepared for the hike. Of course we wouldn’t want to change sites…I had researched it–it was at the very end of the other campsites and at the beginning of another trail head. Of course we were prepared for the hike, we can hike!
So off we went! We were going backpacking!
And then came the actual start of the trip. If you were to ask me how long until I felt I was going to have a heart-attack I would enthusiastically tell you 10 minutes in. Sure the hike to the campsite was only “about” a mile from the parking area. I should have listened to the reviews of people saying it was “strenuous”. Strenuous..was a major understatement, though I can’t think of a word that is more fitting.
It. Was. Painful.
The hike just to the trail that actually led to the campsites was up and down and then up and down stairs…and up and down some more–you get the idea. Then we got to the hill that actually would lead us to the campsites. Hmm, hill doesn’t quite describe it, maybe mountain? We don’t actually have “mountains” in Minnesota, but if we did, I am sure that would have been classified as one. Compounded by the fact that I had close to an extra 70 pounds on my back. Yeah, there was no going back.
So we hiked…or mountain climbed…not to steal credit from actual mountain climbers, but it was rough. We persevered. When we got to the top, I nearly cried with happiness…or I would have if I hadn’t sweat out all of the extra water in my body.
Then came the hike to the actual site. As I said before, I chose one strategically for location, but as we went further on, we decided to change the site, and looked for a good one close to the biffy and most importantly…WATER.
We chose a site and there we were. At our beautiful site. It felt great to finally be there, and drop the gear! We set up our tent, decided what to eat. And sat.
We did it. We could officially say we had gone backpacking!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of First Backpacking Trip!