Oct 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm #1281004
spelt with a tBPL Member
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
Not the most dangerous, or the hardest, or the one where you had to bail. What trip, that you actually completed, ended up being a more miserable slog than you ever imagined?
Mine was the first (and to date, only) group trip I was ever on. What was supposed to be an easy 30 miles/3 days turned into a 48 hour game of catch-up when my foot went into a gopher hole and my ankle sprained badly on the morning of the second day. To add insult to injury, the trip leader made a wrong turn towards the end and we ended up having to walk 4 extra miles to get back to the trailhead. I learned a lot of things, so I can't say it was a terrible trip. But it was certainly the least fun I've ever had on a hike. You?Oct 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm #1794034
Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
My first ever solo overnight.
At the time, I was going to sleep most nights at around 4 a.m. That didn't really change when I went out into the woods. It was winter, January, and it got dark at about 6. I was awake for many, many hours. Just terribly frustrating and boring. I probably only fell asleep around 3 a.m. The way back out seemed too dangerous to do at night, so I was stuck. I was sleeping on a rocky beach near a lake with a skimpy pad, terribly uncomfortable. It was also around 25 degrees and I was using a 45 degree bag. That wasn't too much of an issue though, since I had loads of firewood laying around to use. I woke up at first light with very little sleep and stumbled my way back to the car. Not being able to get sleep was what really made it a horrible trip.
The second worst trip was at Pt. Reyes National Seashore, but in a different way and only parts of it were bad. I left my food out on the table, it was dark and I didn't notice the food box, and racoons took off with all of my food. I left my clothing and bag out in the open and we went down to the beach for a bonfire. The moisture and dew was so intense that all of my sleeping clothes and sleeping bag got soaked. Not soaked enough that I could wring out water, but pretty close. It was with the same 45 degree bag and it was around freezing. I was pretty dang cold. The rest of the trip was a blast though.
These were actually my first two backpacking trips, lol!Oct 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm #1794038
Paul MagnantiBPL Member
@paulmagsLocale: Front Range Zoo
I was tempted to say I've had no really bad trips…then I remember a hut trip I took about 8 years ago.
The trip was to Brainard Cabin. A rustic cabin well known to day trippers in the Boulder area during winter. Very, very, very easy to get to. It is only ~3 miles one way with minimal elevation gain.
Inside are hot drinks, an inviting fire place and a place to warm up and dry off before heading back to the car or pushing further into the wilderness for more winter fun. At only a $1 donation for a day use fee, it is rather nice.
If you are lucky, you know a Colorado Mountain Club member and can assist in hosting this cabin. You make the hot water during the day, stoke the fire, clean up a bit and lock up the cabin after the weekend.
At night? You and your friends have this place to yourself. At 10k ft or so, the winter wind is howling off the divide, the night air is cold and the snow is often coming down hard.
But inside the cabin it is cozy for you and your friends. The hot drinks (with maybe a splash of butterscotch schnapps for cocoa?) are warming and the food is often yummy.
The experience is quite nice.
So, I was invited to go along and told to bring a guest. I had been there before and looked forward to trip
I took my girlfriend at the time. Thought the trip would be a great way to introduce her to the a hut trip experience that was not overly difficult.
The girlfriend was (is) a sweet woman who I am still on good terms with. We could not be any different though. Years later, I still wonder how we ended up together? :)
Me: Blunt guy from the Northeast with a sarcastic sense of humor, outgoing and quite a few friends. Loves long intense trips. Self-taught in many ways for field (IT) of employment. Came from a rather traditional blue-collar and ethnic Catholic background. As with many people who who went to Catholic school for many years, I ended up a devout atheist. :D
Her: Sweet southern girl. Introverted. A few close friends. Very sensitive. Preferred short trips at very casual pace. Father was an academic and she was (and still is) in academia. Besides a different social and economic background, she was (is!) deep into the New Age woo-woo stuff. :)
We made an, ah, interesting couple.
So, that sets the stage.
Also, did I also mention she had NEVER been on any overnight winter trip and grew up in South Carolina????
So we get to to the trail head and its exposed paring lot. If you have ever been there, you know that the Brainard Parking lot is by far the worse place in the area.
The nickname of course is the WINDian Peaks!
We are at 10k feet. The Continental Divide is mere miles away as the crow flies. The wind is voracious. It was biting cold. She was not prepared at all in terms of knowing her gear, having it stowed the right way, etc. . Me, having that wonderful sense of patience and possessing an even temper that is the trait of my ethnic and/or family background (ha!), acted about as well as expected.
I could say how we both could have done things different (and we should have; we were both at fault in different ways), but it is easier to summarize it in one quick vignette.
The wind was howling so bad, I had to raise my voice to tell her how to buckle the snowshoes. She said "STOP YELLING!"
I said "I'M NOT YELLING!!!"
(bashful grin here)
We finally made it to the trees, where it was quite nice and protected from the wind.
Snow shoed to the hut (She did not ski) and had rather similar shenanigans going that I won't bore you all with. Low grade sniping, grumbling and grousing from both parties. Not our finest 48 hrs for either of us.
After the trip, we had a heart to heart and ended the relationship. For the first of many times over the course of two years. :)
Years later, I've learned more about functioning in the outdoors in terms of looking over gear for my trip partner and being diplomatic about suggestions as well. Out of that relationship I learned more patience and toning down some of the Northeast 'tude. Honestly don't think I'd be engaged today if it was not for that relationship 8 yrs ago.
So, not my best trip ever. But one of the most memorable. And, in many ways, one of the most important.Oct 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm #1794042
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Almost electrocuted by lightning at 11,000 ft in the Pecos Wilderness about Santa Fe, NM about 4 years ago. A large PM thunderstorm approached while I was on the trail and , after feeling a buzzing*, I stopped, and went to the tree-line about 50 yards away; took off my pack, and hunched over just to see a crack of lightning hit the exact spot where I'd been. Then at camp, I tried out a (then) new eVent tent, only to find the same storm caused mass humidity with swirling rain so the moisture couldn't get out of my tent. Luckily my sleeping bag shell was highly water-resistant and eventually everything dried and I went to sleep at about 2 in the morning.
I was back 1 week later but with an earlier start.
*In the military, felt the same buzz putting up a large antenna as a big lightning storm approached (careerism often trumps survival, usually with an award), so familiar with lightning.Oct 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm #1794057
spelt with a tBPL Member
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
Oh Paul, that reminds me of when I took my then gf canoe camping on Lake Champlain. We were headed to an island only a mile offshore, but we'd no sooner pushed off than the FOG descended.
"Where's the island?"
"Just paddle straight."
"I can't see anything."
"Just paddle straight."
"We're going to miss it!"
"Just paddle straight."
"We should go back!"
"We're almost there; just paddle straight."
The island stayed put and we ran right into it, but considering how the rest of the trip went…we should have gone back. ;) At least I learned how much I had to work on when it came to relationships. I wish it hadn't come at the expense of upsetting her with my (near literally) blind insistence on continuing in what was admittedly a very disorienting, no-viz situation. After that we only did car camping. I'm amazed she agreed to camp again at all.Oct 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm #1794065
Miguel ArboledaBPL Member
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
I've had a few, but the worst trip I've had has to be a bicycle travel trip, not a hiking trip. It was 1987 and I was bicycling from Denmark to Paris. A month of touring. It rained every single day in September to October. Probably one of the worst days of any trip I have ever taken was about midway in southern Germany, freezing, dark, the whole world washed in hard, driving rain. Everything I had was wet from a campsite the night before that had flooded completely, and it had been a lonely night without a soul around. The whole morning was spent riding a corridor through a huge military base. When I finally reached the other side and came to a small town with a bus stop, my hands were so cold I could barely move them. I took a break at the bus stop, an aluminum affair where even the benches were made of metal and everything was ice cold. I sat there miserably drinking my water and munching on a chocolate bar when suddenly, from up the road, something huge and dark came thundering out of the mist. A tank. Followed by about 50 more. It thuddered by, spraying pooled water from the roadside all over me. And the next and the next and the next, dousing wings of freezing, muddy water all over me. By the time the last one had rumbled by, I was sopping wet and covered in grime. I sat there staring at my chocolate bar and dripping. You can be sure all I wanted to do was go home.
But I persevered and made it to Paris three weeks later. It still remains a journey dear to my heart, mainly because of the people I met along the way.Oct 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm #1794084
Ike JutkowitzBPL Member
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
A few years ago, I had the bright idea of taking our girls (a 2 year old and a 4 month old at the time) camping in the middle of July. It was about 90 F. I was carrying a giant pack with gear for the whole family as well as one daughter. We hiked in several miles to a nice spot that was supposed to be near a river but ended up being a swamp. Swarms of mosquitos immediately descended on us and my wife spent the whole time in the tent.
There was a lot of whining and crying, and the girls were not that well behaved either. Come to think of it, that was the last time my wife ever came camping with us.
I do things a lot differently when I take the girls these days, but I'm glad I was able to get my kids involved in something I love from an early age. And since time has softened the memory some, I still have this to look back on.Oct 23, 2011 at 3:39 pm #1794088
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
Let me set the scene. I was staying with my parents and taking some online classes towards my Masters. I couldn't find much work so money was tight.
I wanted to get away from it all so I decided to spend an overnight backpacking in the James River Face Wilderness in Virginia. I knew there was some snow in the forecast but it didn't sound too bad and at any rate I wanted to try out my poncho tarp in bad weather.
I hiked up the AT and had a great time. I made camp on a mountain side and went to bed. I woke up sometime after midnight and had a bad feeling as the snow came down. Something seemed to be telling me I should hike back out to the car by headlamp. I ignored it and stayed.
I impatiently waited for down as the snow fell harder and harder and began to drift around me. The fine snow flakes were lighter than rain drops and even a light breeze would blow them under my small tarp and onto my face. I burrowed into my bivy and toughed it out till the snow load collapsed my tarp. I went out to fix the problem but I had a hard time driving stakes into the frozen ground and my poncho was sagging.
When the sun finely came up I quickly packed and headed out in about 8 inches of snow. I had driven in snow before but a Chevy Lumina with rather worn tires was not ideal and I was driving on horrible roads. I got stuck and got pulled out. Than I slid into a guardrail and smashed the front of my car up. I limped along for 3 1/2 hours of the scariest driving of my life and slid into a ditch right before I reached my parents house. This was the snowstorm that shut down D.C. and caused so many problems on the east coast in 2010.
Lesson learned, don't ignore your instincts, it can get expensive.Oct 23, 2011 at 6:57 pm #1794149
Dan DurstonBPL Member
Generally things going wrong (ie. lost, terrible weather etc) don't make a trip horrible for me. My wife hates it when things turn sour, but I'm always secretly hoping the trip turns into an 'epic'. For example, 2 weeks ago in Utah we lost the trail. My wife insists we were 'lost' and was upset, while I just saw it as an fun opportunity to hone my off-trail navigation. 2-3 hours later and we popped out at the road just where I thought it would be.
For me, the worst trips are ones where a partner/friend has a bad attitude. I hate being around a downer all day. That wrecks a trip like nothing else. Thankfully it rarely happens.Oct 23, 2011 at 8:03 pm #1794179
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Of all the outings I've done my trip to Minnesota's Inland Seas Ses Kayak Symposium in the late '90s was THE worst.
The problems were all caused by Bernie,the so-called trip leader who, unknown to me until the first day, had back-stabbed me and badmouthed me to the other three kayakers who rode with him. But, of course, he was all smiles in front of me.
The entire kayak trip was one of tension and hard feelings. It mainly stemmed from his desire to control every detail of the trip including wanting me to travel from Pennsylvania non-stop overnight following his camper. Instead I travelled alone a day earlier so I could sleep overnight on the way.
Beautiful weather, great scenery and what could have been a fun trip all ruined by a nasty guy.
For a long time I really wondered if it was partly my fault until I heard of how Bernie's passive-aggressive nature ruined a trip for several other sea kayakers who came to (rightly) detest him. As a psych teacher I had picked up on Bernie's profile but wanted to go on the trip so much I figured "What could go wrong?". Too late I found out.
The moral is: Choose your outing companions carefully.Oct 23, 2011 at 8:51 pm #1794194
Tony BeasleyBPL Member
@tbeasleyLocale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
The year was 1975, I had just finished my apprenticeship and I was on a 3 month hitchhiking trip of New Zealand, I was staying at the Youth Hostel in the Mt Cook/Aoraki Township, a group of us (4) decided we would do a day walk along the Hooker Glacier to the Hooker Hut, this was probably my first ever walk/tramp. From memory the day stared out nice, the walk up was great, we had no problems crossing the many streams on the way, the views over the glacier where magnificent, the glacier was making lots of noises as it slowly made its way down the valley and great chunks of ice where occasionally crashing down, we had lunch at the hut and started the walk back down, it was then the heavens opened, it started to rain like I had never seen it rain before and the rain was bitterly cold, none of us had ever experienced anything like this before and we where not properly dressed, my oily japara rain coat (which I still have) kept a bit of the rain off me but my clothes (which where probably cotton) where totally inadequate.
On the way back the little streams that we crossed on the way up where starting to flow fast, the sides of the valley where the track went, was very steep the water was moving very fast, and with some help from each other we managed to cross a few streams but we then came to one stream that was a raging torrent, we became trapped, the streams behind us where also no longer passable, we where starting to become hypothermic and could not see us waiting it out, so we decided to go down to where the stream flowed into a lake beside the glacier, we then tried to in the freezing water walk/swim around the torrent of water flowing into the lake, we did this holding arms together but this nearly ended in disaster as one person slipped and we had some effort to hold on to her, after regaining her feet we managed to get to the other side, we finally made it back to the car and the warm youth hostel, we where very cold and luckily no worse for wear but a bit wiser for our experience.
Not long after the Hooker Glacier experience, I went off for an overnight walk on the Routeburn Track with two of the Hooker Glacier party, one of the members of the party had just acquired some new boots in Queenstown, on the walk her feet where suffering very badly, that evening we decided to stay at the Routeburn Flats Hut as she could not make it to the Routeburn Falls Huts, in those days the Routeburn Flats Hut had canvas bunks and my sleeping bag was crap, I had a very cold sleepless night, that morning the state of woman’s badly blistered feet was not good at all, so we decided to walk back to the car park, she hobbled bag in just her socks, fortunately it was dry.
TonyOct 23, 2011 at 10:16 pm #1794204
"For me, the worst trips are ones where a partner/friend has a bad attitude. I hate being around a downer all day. That wrecks a trip like nothing else. Thankfully it rarely happens."
I've never had a bad trip but I've definitely had some bad hiking partners.
My first real backpacking experience was with my most recent ex at the time. We were doing the Lost Coast (just Mattole to Shelter cove) and we were trying to beat the tides so we were hiking until after dark and starting out before daylight. It was foggy, a bit cold and a bit wet. Well we didn't want to wait for the tide to go down on one spot so we watched the wave and went for it and had a huge wave crash into us while we were on sharp rocks, into sharp rocks. I had to grab her because she was almost swept away.
I laugh as I type this and I was laughing at the time. Sure it sucked. It was freezing and we were soaked in saltwater. We went all the way back to the last creek (instead of going forward idkw) to rinse off and change. She just complained and acted like we were going to die. We found this really cool little spot (which I've been back to twice since) with a hammock and had a hot (gross) mre. She was just hating life and killing my good time.Oct 24, 2011 at 12:04 pm #1794364
Piper S.BPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
I've had a lot of bad trips. Why do I keep going?
A few years ago my boyfriend, another friend and I decided to get a hike in before I set off to hike the PCT for the first time. I was testing out new shoes (horrible painful blisters–they were way too small.) We hiked Hurricane Deck and learned that the Zaca Fire had not burned any of the trail. We still had to crawl on our bellies through sharp, scratchy scrub oak. We were so mad at the firefighters! We swore never to return to this god-awful place, or if we did, we'd leave a drip line and set the place on fire ourselves.
Our last water was at White Ledge and we hoped to get all the way to Schoolhouse the next day. One in the group is a heavy sweater and carries a heavy load. He ran out of water around noon or so. My boyfriend also ran out of water a couple hours later. Because the trail was so overgrown and the going so painfully slow–literally on hands and knees with saws and loppers–it was clear we'd never make it to Schoolhouse that day.
We all decided to bail down the Potrero Trail because I told them I knew where there was a creek in just a couple miles that always had little potholes filled with water even late in the season.
Unfortunately, the Zaca Fire had devastated all vegetation in the area and the potholes were filled in completely with silt. So we struggled a few more miles to Manzana Creek. I felt so bad because the other two were struggling so bad with dehydration and no water. And then I discovered two liters of water at the bottom of my pack. Oops. Sorry guys. I had forgotten it was there.
Our trip was cut short by one day and the whole overgrown trail thing really was so miserable I have refused to go back to Hurricane Deck. I never had an epic feel about this trip afterward like I have about other bad trips. It was simply no fun at all.Oct 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm #1794370
@halpottsLocale: Middle Tennessee
I have done most of the standard things that can make a trip challenging like forget the tent poles, and not pack enough food, but most of those turned out OK. My worst trip was my first – a day hike that turned into a "spend the night in the woods unprepared" hike. My buddy and I had hiked about 10 miles when the sun went down and we had to stop since we had no lights. It got cold quickly and luckily I found some matches in the bottom of my day pack and a two year-old half-pack of instant oatmeal. I got a fire going and spent most of the night in my shorts and T-shirt trying to sleep on the hard dirt in the shape of a C around the fire. My front side was broiling and my back side froze all night and we were both starving. After a miserable night of almost no sleep we walked out the next morning to find that the end of the trail and a gigantic parking lot was less than a mile ahead. On the up side this was my first time to sleep completely in the woods, drink water from a creek, and to enjoy the experience of camping in the quiet far away from anyone else. Despite the lack of comfort I found it to be magical. It started my great adventure into many years of much more satisfying backpacking.Oct 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm #1794408
@buffaloskipperLocale: Gulf Coast
Worst backpack trip? Sorry but we had to bail on this one, when we took the scouts up to Pine Mountain, GA, FDR State Park back in 2008. We drove up on Friday night, set up a temporary base camp after midnight. The rain started about 3am, and by 9am it changed completely to snow. This was the forecast, and we were not surprised by this at all. By 10am, we hit the trail with our “older” scouts. Our goal for the day was 7 miles, which we made easily, but trudging in the snow, our feet (especially mine) got very wet, as we had a few stream crossings.
It quit snowing before we rolled into camp, but the temperature was beginning to drop. The forecast was for 22° that night, and I estimate we were already close to that by the time we made camp. My feet were wet, and I could not get them warm. I changed into some dry socks and dry camps shoes, but the crunchy, icy snow snuck into my shoes and made everything wet (and cold) again. We had a hard time cooking our food that night, because the water just would not boil. Everyone climbed into their sleeping bags, but I could not shake the chill; and though I was wearing dry clothes, I shivered and barely slept all night long. By morning, my feet were stinging and in retrospect, I was not of clear thought. Most of our small group was not much better.
We had no access to vehicles, except at the end of the trail, so we packed up and headed out. After less than a mile, we ran into a lone (older) scout from the other group. His dad (leader) had blown out a knee, and the other group was bailing. It was pure chance that we bumped into him, but we now had our “out.” It raised everyone’s spirits to know we were getting out, even if it took another 2 hours to hitch to the cars and ferry them back. While waiting for the cars, we ran into a ranger who estimated that our overnight temps had dropped into the single digits, he suggested about 8°. No wonder our propane/isobutane stoves would not work well. Remember, we were a bunch of Florida boys.
The same weekend two years later, we took a different group up to the same trail (Pine Mountain Trail), and the “older” scouts (different group this time) had decided upon the same exact route (by chance). The forecast was for temps in the low 40s but for rain the first day. Again, the forecast proved completely accurate with the rain beginning in the middle of the first day of hiking, and (most) everyone’s gear got soaked.
We set up in the rain and (most) everyone’s tents were wet inside. The rain was only forecast to last for 6 hours, but lingered on for closer to 20 hours! My tent was only a little damp but everyone else’s gear was soaked through and through (we were wringing out sleeping bags). With temps predicted to be near freezing, and it still raining off and on, we again decided to bail, and got to a car, and took everyone’s bags to a laundry-mat for drying. The younger scouts in a different group on a different route did much better and had bragging rights.
Then last year, there was a major ice storm in January, forcing us to change the location of our hike, and the scouts ended up again (reluctantly) deciding to hike at Pine Mountain. We did take a slightly different route, and, though there were a few small patches of snow on the first day, the weather remained dry, and we got through the three day trek with no ill effects. For those of us who had gone multiple years, it was a real victory that we actually got through the trail.Oct 25, 2011 at 8:12 am #1794757
Randy NelsonBPL Member
I've never had any really bad trips. The most disappointing was a few years back when some friends and I had planned a 4 Pass Loop trip for at least 6 months and it coincided with my 50th birthday. I looked forward to that trip more than any other I've done. 1 friend was flying in for it as well. The plan was to do a leisurely 4 day trip and to take my llamas which would mostly be carrying good food and beers. It started out OK and we camped just sort of Maroon Pass. We enjoyed some good beers and steak and scallops for dinner. Right before I went to sleep I started to feel a bit sniffling and my throat was getting sore. I slept horribly and By the next morning I was really weak. I tried to continue but wasn't up to it and had to bail. With the llamas and the good food. My friends had brought some food just in case and I gave them some including Jerk Chicken. They continued on and had a great trip. It was tough but I made the right choice. I was so weak that I considered stopping at the designated sites at Crater lake which is only 1.5 miles from the TH but continued on and did the 3 hour drive home. I was glad I did. It was just a bad cold but the worst I've had. Spent 2 days in bed than back to MB to get my buddies.
I did go back last year and do it as a 3 day solo trip to see what I missed and am glad I did. This year, my friend flew out again and we did it as an overnight. Maybe next year we'll do it as a day hike. :)Oct 25, 2011 at 8:55 am #1794780
@green1Locale: Alberta, Canada
This is a tough one, maybe I'm just too much of an optimist (though my friends will never call me that!) but although I've had many trips with bad/miserable elements, I've always somehow enjoyed the trip regardless.
A couple bad ones:
– West coast trail (8 days of some of the toughest trail I could imagine… worse than I could have imagined before I started) I hiked with 2 girls who did nothing but complain the whole time, took forever to pack each morning (you did take it all out of that pack, it WILL go back in!), and hiked at a snails pace, on day 2 they decided they weren't going to carry their parts of the tent any more, so I ended up with all of it (and this was before I learned about lightweight, so my pack was probably close to 80lbs already!) 2nd last day they ran out of toilet paper and asked to borrow my roll… I gave them 1/3 of a roll, they returned the empty tube, with 2 days to go! Additionally I was wearing glasses that spent the whole trip fogged up so I couldn't see a thing… and my thermarest air mattress got destroyed at the trailhead so I was sleeping directly on the ground every night… And I still had an amazing time and loved it. (The trail was just amazing enough to make up for my poor choice of hiking partners, and all the other problems I guess)
– A few years back my friend's wife and I went for an early season overnight trip (early being mid to late June) to my favourite backcountry campground, this site is about a 10km hike in, the in the first 8km you gain 300m, then you gain another 300m in the next 1 km (including a cliff face with chains to help you up) and then a final flat km around a beautiful lake. It was warm, sunny, and dry in the parking lot, and most of the trip in, until we got to the top of the cliff face, from there to the lake was waist deep snow, we had no snowshoes, and didn't expect any snow in late June! but both of us were far too stubborn to quit (that one won't surprise anyone who knows us!) so we kept going, we got to camp after several hours of slogging through the snow and arrived sopping wet from head to toe, we pitched our tents and decided to warm up by the fire… problem is, the campsite was also waist deep snow, and the wood was soaked beyond belief, we managed to consume 2 large logs by smouldering while never actually getting real flame, just water boiling out the end of the wood, eventually we gave up and went to bed cold and wet… Not sure why that one wasn't a "worst" trip, but somehow we still came out of it smiling and laughing, and with a story to tell for years.Oct 25, 2011 at 8:59 am #1794782
Ryan CBPL Member
Earlier this year I was in Alaska for two weeks and enjoyed being around big bears, glaciers, rugged mountains, tundra, turquoise lakes, float planes, kayaking, pretty much all the cool stuff that is Alaska. It was the coolest trip I have done but the most miserable at the same time.
First, I had to carry a 35-40lb pack bushwhacking where no trails exist. That was not so bad, a custom well fitted pack is key.
Second, a few people came with sinus infections and passed it off to most of us, including myself for almost half the trip (we had to share water filters, ICKY!). So, we had hypothermic temperatures, lots of wet weather, wet gear, wet boots, a sore throat, sinus drainage, and there was no way out or pills to help me.
Third, I learned that I do not do so well in large groups (there were 12 of us). No one goes at the same pace, no one eats the same amount of calories, and not everyone is interested in talking to the locals, rangers, pilots, and naturalists (I enjoy this though).
Fourth, I learned to NEVER let others plan my food. We were originally allocated 3500 calories per day (keep in mind we were all carrying heavy packs off trail) but plans changed at the last minute and I had to live off 2000 calories or less per day. Normally I need up to 4000 for that kind of activity. So in effect, I bonked on half the trip and was miserable. Combine that with being sick and it was not fun.Nov 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm #1799627
For me it was my first solo trip. I decided one weekend to just go to Algonquin park, no reservations, first solo experience. I wasn't going light at all, and I never hiked, much less for over 10km. I wasn't in shape. I didn't have hiking shoes, or good clothes.
I was hoping it'd be less crowded due to the temp dropping and poor weather forecast. I was wrong. When I got there, the nearest available site was 14km away. I never backpacked that far (normally canoed with a group), so this was going to be interesting. Got to the campsite in 4 hours. The weather didn't turn foul, but it was spritzing and windy the entire weekend. The worst was that the temp dropped down to 5C in mid-late September, and I wasn't expecting that. I was caught completely unprepared and had a very very cold sleep. Also woke up every few hours due to the noise of the wind.
I also forgot any sort of accelerant or fire-starting material beyond my lighter, so it was quite an effort to get a fire going with the heavily impacted site with minimal kindling available.
I always hope a trip doesn't go smoothly; I always seem to learn something new that way. This makes me wanna go again this weekend. It's supposed to rain snow pellets with the lowest temp I'd ever try. Hmm….Nov 8, 2011 at 8:36 am #1799697
It was this past July. What was supposed to be a short 6 mile hike went from a nice trail to a little snow…then more snow…then A LOT of snow. We eventually made it out of the snow to a road. What's interesting is that the weekend before we did a hike near the same area and there wasn't any snow. So expecting the same thing, she wore her Keen's and I wore my Chaco's. Not a good idea. I knew it was getting bad when the little blue diamonds that were on the trees kept getting closer to the snow we were walking on, and then disappeared.
When we finally made it to a road. Shows how much snow we were walking on along the actual trail.
My rain jacket was used to make her….
….waterproof socks. Chivalry isn't dead. Hahaha.Nov 8, 2011 at 8:45 am #1799699
Yet there was a happy ending….
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