When all was said, done, packed and weighed........we carried 190 lbs on our backs between us all! 190 pounds, really?! Yes, really...here's the breakdown:
Impressive right? I sure thought so. And worried. And wondered if we'd actually be able to hike ourselves into camp 6 miles from the parking lot! Of everyone, I think Bill and Luke were the most excited. Luke was thrilled to pieces that he was actually carrying weight in his pack! He got new trekking poles the morning of-
The least excited? Laurel. She was so disappointed that she did not get to carry a backpack EXACTLY like Luke's and was relegated to carry a school backpack. It was a darn good thing that ALL she had to carry because she complained about how heavy it was. A lot. But it all started out with smiles and great attitudes! We picked the kids up form their last day of school, they changed in the car, we made our last civilized pit stop at a McDonald's
Little did we know she'd be carried like this again.....
Strapping on the packs.......saying our prayers!
This was only me second time backpacking, and I should clarify that by saying the first time I backpacked was when I was 14 years old! I think I did pretty darn good. I was NOT one of the big complainers!
It didn't take long once we started the hike into the wilderness area for the beauty of that area to make itself known. The weather was perfect-not too warm and not too cool-and hiking with a view made it that much better!
A little map reading training along the way. Bill was really good to bring all the kids over and pull the map out whenever we came to a trail marker. The older boys, from their backpacking trips with scouts, knew a fair amount, but the refresher was still good for them. Me? Still lost, even with a map. For all the directional skills my mom has, I am like my grandma.....lost in a paper bag!
And on we went.....
After the first 2 miles in, we got our first reward....a beautiful meadow where we took our packs off and enjoyed a 20 minute snack break. And for others, a shirtless break.
At about 3 miles, we knew we might be in for a little bit of whining when Bill has to resort to prodding Laurel to keep walking. Using his trekking pole!
But cool things like this kept us all going-and they are all smiling too!
Things got a bit iffy when Bill kept telling the kids 'we're almost there, just a little bit farther!' In fact, I even caught myself telling him to stop saying that!! We FINALLY made it to our campsite after 4 &1/2 hours of hiking. Whew! It was worth the hike! It was secluded, surrounded by pine trees on one side, high rock walls on another side and a huge granite rock slab in the middle, perfect for throwing all our stuff on, cooking on, standing on....
The first night of sleep was.....umm...cold! Despite beanies, long johns and a warm bag, I was still freezing!! It didn't help that my inflatable sleeping pad evidently had a few holes we were unaware of until the middle of the night. Yeah, sleeping and camping are NOT synonymous!
But the morning arrived sunny and beautiful!
There was a stream that ran right behind our camp and was so convenient when we needed to filter more water. The filter pump was SO interesting to many!
We ate breakfast....2 packs of oatmeal for everyone but Laurel, who packed her own dry cereal because the smell of flavored oatmeal makes her gag...then packed up our lunch and some snacks for another hike to another beautiful area that was 4 miles away. Thankfully, we made the smart decision to leave our tents where they were and just make it a day hike. Best decision of the trip! Because the boys and Bill are still building endurance for their big Philmont experience this summer, they carried packs for the day.
There were marshes that we would stumble across and Bill would ferry Laurel across since she didn't have hiking boots-
We even saw snow! Lots of it along the way actually......
Look. A smile from the Gregory...
The further we hiked, the more sweeping the views became until we found ourselves in the middle of the San Pedro Park. 10,200 feet in elevation. Can you believe we have such amazing views in New Mexico?!!
Perfect place for a lunch break!
Now, for the TMI part of this post. Bill has said that his favorite memory of this trip was the circumstances surrounding the sap that went up the back of my shirt and pull over. Well, my first and only experience with 'dug' the shovel and needing to use the restroom led me to lean on a tree that was literally dripping sap all over the place. But I was too concerned with making sure NO ONE could see me, that checking out the tree itself was so far from my mind. So, I found relief in one way but made a mess of myself in another! Oh well, live and learn right?! Yep, I'll choose my trees more wisely next time! The boys laughed at me too......
On our way back to camp, Gregory was determined to try and fly fish. He was also pretty sure he'd catch one. Well......he tried but didn't catch one. It was nice to just stop along the way and relax by the stream!
One of my favorite photos of the weekend-they were 'very quietly' watching G try to fish.
As luck would have it, after getting back to camp, Eric picked up G's pole, dropped a fly into the water and caught a fish!!
Eric was thrilled. Gregory was annoyed.
We finished up night number 2 with some more backpacking meals (actually NOT all that bad if I do say so myself!) and sunshine.
Sunday morning we packed it all up, looking forward to less heavy packs...but knowing full well we had a looong way to get back to the car!
The end result of eating a lot of the food we carried-our pack weights on the way out:
Gregory: 33 (his actually went up)
24lbs of food eaten!