We went backpacking with our friends this 4th of July weekend. We hiked 5 miles into Jenny Lake, which is about 30 miles outside Idaho City. I haven’t backpacked for a number of years due to many awesome reasons (i.e., we have a 3 man tent and 4 people; my hip hurt; it sounded painful, etc). But this year, after losing weight and doing physical therapy to get my hip and knee working better, I decided to go for it. And like the American women in the World Cup, I went for it with gusto. Go USA!
Hubby made it easy for me by carrying at least double my pack’s weight. He’s kind like that. I put my pack on my back (I rhyme all the time) before we left and weighed it. My jaw dropped as I realized that was my actual weight last summer. When I pulled that pack off, I held the extra weight I shed this year. Go ME!
I enjoyed the trickling creek beside the trail and the variety of wildflowers blooming. There was color everywhere…and that made me happy. Go WILDFLOWERS!
I’m no pro at backpacking. In fact, I may rate more on the lame side. I had the wimpiest pack and hiked slow and steady (the turtle of the bunch). Despite being lame though, I loved the trip!
- Yes, I got bitten by pesky horse flies (and they bit through my shirt, the little brats)
- and Yes, I had to do my necessary business in the woods (but thanks to the movie UP, I knew to dig the hole first)
- and Yes, I had no chair to sit on because hubby refused to add anymore weight to his already massive pack, and I don’t blame him
- and Yes, my 15-year-old son forgot to pack a sleeping bag (how do you do that?), so my daughter and I had to sleep on top of our mats snuggled beneath the one sleeping bag that zipped out so my son could use a mummy bag in the hammock
- and Yes, a bear entered our domain on our last night and broke a log trying to get at our hung packs
But the pros outweighed the cons.
- Beauty and Peace. Since we were so far out, we didn’t have neighbors 10 feet away from us like in a campground. We had the whole side of the lake to ourselves for 2 whole days.
- We snagged the primo spot. Having a whole wilderness to ourselves made it easier to do the necessary business. Can you imagine trying to find a hiding spot with people everywhere? I’d have had to walk miles for privacy, and then probably would have picked poison ivy to squat in knowing my luck.
- There were enough decent size logs and rocks to sit on and read my kindle, play games, eat or visit on. And we had 3 hammocks between us for extra sitting spaces when those became too uncomfortable.
- Wildflowers, gorgeous sunsets and stars. Plenty of them.
- Yummy food. Oatmeal for breakfast, Ritz crackers and a salmon packet for lunch, and those expensive freeze dried meals for dinner (I had Hawaiian rice & chicken and Lasagne).
- Good friends and lots of time for social interaction–the kids had no wifi so they had to physically communicate. Besides when we napped to get a reprieve from the nasty bugs, we were face-to-face interacting all the time. So much fun.
- Fishing. We caught trout and cooked them over the fire each night. All I can say about fresh fish is Yummy!
- Sense of accomplishment. You can’t hike in with everything you need on your back for two days and not help but feel a little smug…or terrified. If you forget something (like your sleeping bag), the repercussions can be horrible. But surviving on your own like that makes you feel a little more capable.
- No mirror. We got dirty; I had no straight iron; and I didn’t wear makeup. And guess what? Since no one wanted to add a mirror into their pack, we all didn’t care. Yes, I probably looked horrible, but I was in good company so it was AWESOME!
- The bear didn’t eat us or work too hard to get our packs and tear them to pieces (which would have made it interesting trying to fit those belongings of 8 packs into 6 to get back down the mountain). He grunted and sniffed like crazy, but I slept through it all. I only know he came because our friend told us the breaking log woke him up and then he heard the bear’s noises and he couldn’t get back to sleep because he was holding his bear mace and waiting for one of us to scream. Ha ha. But seriously, I’m grateful the bear wasn’t that interested in messing around with the rest of our campsite (especially our tents where we were huddled in like cream in a Twinkie).
It was an awesome trip, although I now look like one of these 3 things:
Don’t ask me what I did, but something got to me there. I broke out in some type of rash the 2nd day, and the last morning I awoke with a swollen eye. I thought coming home, showering, and being back in a normal environment would fix it…but Sunday morning my whole face was bloated and swollen. My neck, arms and ear were too. My freak show face frightened me enough to run into the Quick Care to make sure I wouldn’t die. I didn’t, but the steroid treatment took until today to cut the swelling down. So weird!
Still, I’ll endure being Quasimodo for a few days over not having gone on the trip. I loved Jenny Lake and wouldn’t mind going there again. But next time…I’ll take Benydryl. What did you do on the 4th? Have you ever resembled a Klingon or Quasimodo before (purposely or not)?