Fording Rivers

Our first overnight backpacking trip was a success and my new backpack was wonderful compared to the first one! We traveled along the Otter Creek Trail, at least part of it. Let me show you what the trail looks like and you can see how easy it is to manipulate trail paths for your needs.

Map of Otter Creek Wilderness

On our first day we got started a little later than we hoped to, but we arrived knowing that we wanted to travel about 5 miles before setting up camp.  After our trial hike the other day and several other previous hikes done with the girls we figured that we average 1.5 miles per hour with all 5  of us. Starting our trek at the Condon Run Trail head travelling North up TR 131 we hiked roughly 2.7 miles before hanging up our hammocks for some relaxation and lunch.  The trail was mostly uphill, rocky and mucky.  According to the guide book it was rated at a 4 star difficulty and 1 star kid friendly, but the girls never once showed this rating to be true.  The forded through rivers and streams, guided themselves through muddy paths by using their walking sticks to search for hard locations to step on, and helped each other get passed difficult areas.  They were true adventurers.

Of all the paths you take in life make sure some of them are dirt.

At lunch we decided to try some freeze dried meals in a bag.  I admit that I was a little nervous and picked what I thought to be the safest one for my first meal – Mac & Cheese.  It wasn’t horrible, but then again I am sure it was not intended to be soup.  I would say this issue was corrected later in the evening for dinner, but dinner turned into soup as well just Lasagna soup.  I barely got my feet off the ground to rest in my hammock before we hit the trail again.  I envisioned having more time, but then it occurred to me that with kids anywhere even in the woods there is no resting! After about an hour we headed back onto the trail.

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Around six we made it to our final destination roughly at the 5 mile mark which landed us on TR 128 heading East.  We set up camp, started a fire, filtered water from the stream near by and finally got a chance to play with our tarps over the hammocks.  Everyone was asleep by 11, but some of us slept more soundly than others.  What me and my husband learned was that it was too cold in the hammock!  Both of us woke in the middle of the night adding layers for warmth and having a hard time falling back to sleep because of the cold air blowing under the hammock.  We definitely will be looking into some options to help insulate the bottom for warmth.  The girls on the other hand did not have this issue and I believe it is because they had the extra body heat from being in a sleeping bag snuggled together.

Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of. – Charles Spurgeon

The next morning we rolled out of the hammocks a bit later than expected and continued our theme of soups for breakfast.  I swear we will get down the measurements eventually.  We traveled back the way we came instead of completing the loop we had intended because we had an event at 6 that we needed to be home for and the continuing trek was 60 percent switchback inclines.  I was afraid that our time would drastically decrease per mile because of the incline causing us to miss the first day of camp for the girls.  Turning around seemed like the better option.  Originally we would have traveled from TR 128 onto TR129 to TR 165  finding ourselves back at the Cordon Run Trail head.  Instead we forded across the same rivers and streams with greater confidence and ease improving our trail time on the return hike.

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This first overnight backpacking trip was a great success and everyone is looking forward to the next adventure!

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