Apr 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm #1288548
Companion forum thread to:Apr 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm #1865816
@richardcullipLocale: San Diego County
What a sweet read!Apr 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm #1865826
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
Good article — I didn't realize that tube tents were still available. I used one on my first backpacking trip, never used it again.Apr 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm #1866199
Going up Bear Canyon is pretty rough. I'm impressed!Apr 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm #1866260
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
When I was a youngster in the BSA my troop went on many backpacking trips. This was before the advent of framed backpacks, external or internal, or any other actual backpacking gear. Hence, I used a canvas rucksack, a kapok sleeping bag, a heavy rubberized air matress, a surplus WW2 army mess kit & canteen, etc. All terribly heavy! But we had so much fun we wern't even aware of the weight thanks in great part to the adults who took the time to show us the lure of the mountains. I thank them, and I'm sure many thank you, too!Apr 12, 2012 at 9:14 am #1866517
@elmvineLocale: Central Texas
Thanks for the encouraging comments! It was a fun article to write, after I got over the initial writer's block. (Don't bother to ask Addie how long she had to bug me about it…)
I tried a tube tent once (!) in the early 1970's. On the Oregon coast no less. Rained on the inside just about as much as on the outside. When the kids tried it in Texas the experience was somewhat more benign. They quickly moved on to other strategies. The kid on the right in the photo is our bivy boy.
Yeah, Bear Canyon is a "bear." There are lots of hikes like it out there, though, and they are often fantastic. I think it can be easy to sell ourselves short. Just have to plan on taking enough time, rest stops, snacks, and water.
My first "backpacking" trip, August 1970, Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon, involved bare feet, blanket, a shoulder book bag, 5 miles up a creek, food mostly spaghetti brought by other people, a pretty lake, chemical impairment, skinny dipping, and extremely fuzzy recollection of 3 days and 2 nights of knockout scenery and fun. Mercifully, no rain. So by comparison my son's JMT hike a generation later seemed pretty well organized. Although, he did run out of food and have to scrounge the bear boxes near the end–something about an interesting combination of oatmeal and pesto–and emerged with a whopping sunburn. At least going into it he had several years of practice on weekend trips. I do believe just taking these kids out makes a huge difference. And I am grateful to the folks who took him out on trips in the years before I started coordinating the program.
Thanks again!May 18, 2012 at 5:48 am #1878921
Your article was fantastic. I with a Boy Scout Troop in Austin. The problem is finding places to go backpacking that have water available. Packing a gallon or more of water is a little rough. The packs are heavy enough.
3 changes of clothes and wet wipes were the norm on the last trip.
We are going to try a short trip On the Goodwater Troop/Lake Georgetown for our next trip.May 20, 2012 at 8:10 pm #1879637
@elmvineLocale: Central Texas
@ Lester. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed reading the article.
Water can be scarce in Central Texas for sure. It becomes an incentive to streamline the rest of each hiker's kit. I think Gossamer Gear does some work with BSA in our area, you might want to contact them for some coaching.
In our Camp Fire program we don't encourage changes of clothes on the trail, except for extra socks. We encourage youth to share shelters.
The problem with Texas is, not much public land, and on what there is you have to go around in circles!
Trip ideas with water and good hiking: You might want to try going up to the Horse Trail at Pedernales Falls. Makes for a longer, woodsier hike than taking the main trial (road) into Wolf Ridge Camp. The park will give you a photocopied map if you ask. Bushwhack up the slope right after Regal Creek, you'll hit the Horse Trail, take it to the pipeline, pipeline over the High Point and down to the trail (road) again which brings you into camp from the back side of Wolf Mt. You don't have to carry a gallon of water, you can hike over to Jones Spring in the evening for water to treat. (I would hesitate to use the river water b/c of agricultural chemicals–although we do wade in it.) At Enchanted Rock there's no water on the back side except for Moss Lake–yuck! (aside to BPL readers–it's an old stock tank but there's a distressing amount of, let us say, poorly executed cat-holing potentially draining into it) but it's only about an hour round trip to go back to the car campground for more water if you need it. Lost Maples has a nice spring so you can resupply water on Saturday afternoon. We made a trip over to Sam Houston National Forest this spring, Little Lake Creek Loop and Lone Star Hiking Trail. It looks like a lot of BSA troops go there. About 3 hours over, but lots of good water–along with mosquitoes!
I've been on the south shore part of the Goodwater, and a little of the north shore. Haven't taken the kids there–I think they would find it a little "frontcountry" with all the speedboats and such. But it is supposed to be 16 miles around if you need the mileage practice. Have a good time on your trip!
MinaSep 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm #1913764
@traylLocale: SE Tx
Try looking a little farther east… In the area north of Houston, you have the Sam Houston National Forest: 675,000 acres of wilderness with several trails, streams, and places to camp. (Caution: After the drought of 2011, many areas were closed due to "widowmaker" hazards, which the USFS has been working to clear. Check with the SHNF office to be sure.) One beautiful spot for "car camping" is Cagle Recreation Area (in the SHNF) on the NE shore of Lake Conroe. Farther east, you have the Big Thicket. My wife and I did a 3-day, 40-mile canoe float down the Neches River, with sandbar camping available on almost any bend (and there are L-O-T-S of bends!!) In 2012, my neighbor and I launched farther upstream a d did a 54-miler. Great trip! There are several canoe outfitters in the area who can provide equipment/logistical support. Keep the smiley side up and the muddy side down!
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