I went back packing for the very first time this weekend. It was beautiful. There are still lots of fall colors and the weather was perfect. I am still kicking myself for not remembering to put my memory card back into my camera (was still in my computer from my nyc post), so :( no pictures. I made sure to stop and look up and around, taking it all in so I can hopefully remember.
Friday, we went to a second chance gear shop and got some appropriate light weight clothing and a map. Then to Rei for my first back pack, thermorest, some dehydrated food, etc. Picking a back pack took forever. We were there 3 hrs! I ended up with a mens pack because it fit the best and the womens version was out of stock.
Saturday we drove to the spot (the Fish Hatchery in the Pisgah National Forest) where we parked and started our hike...oh probably about 1:30pm. It was originally suppose to rain, but not a sprinkle in sight... just the bluest sky you've ever seen. All the colors yellow, orange, red, green, over the blue sky background was just so beautiful. Maybe around 5 we found a really neat spot to camp. (We didn't bring a watch, phone etc so the rest of the trip we were just guessing on time.) It was right next to a stream and had an established fire ring. I LOVE camp fires. I love building them. I love the stoking/maintaining them, I love the warmth, and even love the smell of them. Ok, a little ahead of myself. After we found our spot we stashed our packs there and decided to do a little more exploring. We found a larger camping area not too far from us that had a father and son there. They invited us to stay, but we choose to be secluded instead. Their spot was really pretty, though, the trees were really tall and some spots opened up, letting in the sunshine. There were some big bolders and it all butted up against Cedar Rock Mountain (a very round, bare rock surface). Well, we had ample time to gather wood, pick a tree for the bear bag, set up the tent, build a fire, eat are pretty tasty dehydrated meal (vege lasagna) and cornbread, plus dehydrated dessert (berry cobbler), and enjoy the sounds of the crackling fire and running spring before bed. Sleeping. hmmm well. Not so bad. I slept in a mummy bag for the first time. A tad claustrophobic at first. I was warm though. (even though I had a dream I was in Alaska). Then there was the mental trip of "not falling off my raft (thermorest)" as I slept. Needless to say, I was up and out of the tent when the sun came up.
Sunday morning, we resurrected the fire, ate breakfast, packed up, and hung out til the fire died. We thought it was about 11:30 when we headed out. We went out a different way we came. I prefer loops. It's always more fun to see something new the whole way through the hike. We finished on a popular downhill mountain biking trail that criss crossed over rivers making it muddy and rutted in parts. We also got to see some amazing waterfalls. On most of them, we dropped our packs and climbed down to see them. Got our feet wet and all. This was the first one we saw. This one was nice, but I can't find a good, let alone fall, picture of it. And this last one was fun because we climbed down the mossy rocks you see here on the right. Then we jumped our way over to the rock here on the left.
Be sure to check out the links if you are itchin' for some pics. (if you click on the "amazing waterfalls" first, then all the links should work.)
Here is a view of Looking Glass Rock from a lookout we passed on our way to the Fish Hatchery. This is a view from the south side of Cedar Rock Mountain. Both of these were taken just over a week ago so the colors are pretty similar to now. This guy has some nice pictures.
Me after returning home from my first back packing trip. Nick said I was a real trooper :)