The weather is warming up and the spring flowers are popping their heads up through the ground. Birds are migrating up north and the geese have returned to make a nest by our pond. Everything is waking up from its winter slumber. I am feeling the reality that my family’s first backcountry trip is coming on the horizon. I’ve got to keep moving and preparing!
If you have read any of the previous blog posts, We have slowly accumulated our gear over the winter. We’ve hit REI, specifically their garage sale days, Eddie Bauer Outlet on Friday mornings and online venues to get the best possible gear prices for our trip. We’ve met some great people standing in those cold lines and we have shared our stories with one another. That has been one of the highlights of getting ready. People are amazing and carry a lot of wisdom about their past experiences hiking and their preparations. I am grateful for the conversations we have had and through these interactions we have found out how amazing the hiking and backpacking community is.
After all that shopping we are almost ready for our first overnighter! We have all the expensive big things bought, minus a foot print for one of the tents. Our packs have been tested at Cuyahoga Valley National Park on the Boston Run and Ledges Trails. Amazingly, we have hiked over 200 miles this winter at various Columbus Metro Parks, Ohio State Parks and National Parks. We’ve practiced making food on the trail using our Jetboil and Mountain House food packs. I am grateful we have accomplished a lot over this mild Ohio winter, BUT now winter is over and spring is here…….
So we are packing the backpacks.
I am preparing packing lists for 7 people and two who have T1d. (type 1 diabetes) My adult children who are coming on some of the trips are preparing their own gear but I am sharing what I have learned with them. If you would like to check out my packing list, here is a link to my ever evolving backpack checklist The younger kids all have things they are adding to their packs that they want to have, once I test that decision out I’ll add things to the list that make the cut.
Our practice hikes help Matt and I and the kids make good decisions about what is absolutely necessary for our packs! While we hike we realize that some things are just to heavy to take! That American girl doll and 5 sets of clothes for her, well, that may need to stay home. The WWII shovel, while cool to look at and use, should probably be replaced with something a tad lighter. My copy of, Bonhoffer hard back edition, yeah, that’s not going to make the cut!
I definitely have come to appreciate my Jetboil as we have “practiced”! This stove is amazing and has preformed better than I even imagined it could! When we have done lunches on the trail we have been able to re-hydrate all 7 Mountain House bags in under 30 min. I will admit we are carrying in all our water for these trials and have not had to filter water yet for this process. That will be a whole different story when we add that step.
The picture below is of the MOST IMPORTANT ITEMS in my backpack! COFFEE! Backcountry camp coffee! 🙂 #coffeeaholic #thismomrunsoncoffee
Let me just say, we can prepare all we want and research all we can but until we are really out there in the wilderness, we won’t know for sure how this is all going to really pan out in real time. I think the “unknown” keeps me slightly awake at night as I pack and repack backpacks in my sleep. I can’t explain to you the anticipation we have as the sun keeps warming up the earth and the breezes whispering in our ears beckoning us to come into the wild wilderness!