What a weekend! We headed (by train) out to Harriman State Park for an overnight backpacking adventure. Frans is flying out west for a multi-day backpacking trip soon so this was a good shakeout – a chance to test gear, perfect bear-bag-hanging techniques, try different food options, etc.
It’s been crazy hot and humid lately and the woods didn’t really provide an escape from the weather – but it was still a good trip. The first day was 6.8 miles of hiking with a wonderful dip in a lake near the end. We found a brambly but usable camping spot near the edge of the lake. The next day we swam again and then hiked 6.5 miles out, had a couple of beers and some sushi near the train station, and snoozed most of the train ride home.
The trip included a few highlights, a few scary things, and a few learning experiences.
Highlight #1: THE LAKE. Sliding into the water after 6 miles in hot sun with a heavy pack was the most amazing experience.
Highlight #2: EVERYTHING WORKED. We ate well, managed the bear bag (counterbalance technique!), and didn’t really have any equipment or clothing issues.
Scary thing #1: RATTLESNAKE. I knew they were out there but I was still surprised to hear – and then see – a BIG snake rattling at us from the underbrush about 3 feet off the trail. Very glad I heard it. We gave the dude a wide berth.
Scary thing #2: BEAR CUB. Okay, he was super cute and he was skipping merrily away from us, but I was worried his mom was nearby and not as cute or as skippy.
Learning experience #1: BUG SPRAY. Bring enough of it. We actually ran out on the second morning. Luckily the mosquitoes weren’t as bad as the first day, but we should’ve been better prepared.
Learning experience #2: EAT AND DRINK REGULARLY. We actually didn’t have dehydration issues but we were close. And one of us (naming no names) really “bonked” the morning of Day 2 after not-quite-enough food for fuel. A couple of energy bars fixed things, but it was a good reminder.
Overall, it was a lovely trip. I’m a big fan of summer. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to hiking in cooler weather this fall.