I am so glad you came back and I cannot wait to tell you about my latest adventure!
This past weekend, I had one of my top adventures … I did something I have been wanting to do for YEARS … I officially went backpacking! It was as much fun as I imagined it would be and I cannot wait to go back! I am so glad that I enjoyed it. I had been worried that after years of wanting to try backpacking that I wouldn’t end up liking it.
This adventure was also the first adventure to make me nervous. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Nervous I wouldn’t click with my travel companions. Nervous that I wouldn’t like it as much as I hoped. Nervous that I would be the oldest one of the trip (nowhere near, one lady was 59! talk about inspiration!). Nervous that I packed too much. Nervous that I didn’t pack enough. Needless to say, you get the picture … I was… nervous.
It was an amazing trip put together by the Explorer Chicks. The Explorer Chick Adventure Company was founded by a woman named Nikki who wanted like-minded women to go on adventures with – something I can totally relate too, the older I have gotten, the harder it has become to find people to go on trips with. I am constantly amazed by how many people do not have an interest and passion in travel and adventure. Totally a foreign concept for me…
This weekend, was my first official trip with the Explorer Chicks (I did go on the SUP trip with them at the start of my year-long adventure quest). Since I have been home, I have been eyeballing several of their other trips (though it would take some serious budget shuffling); the trips to Dominican Republic and Baja are really calling my name!!
Okay, back to my backpacking adventure! Over the course of the weekend, our guide taught us how to pack our packs, purify water, pee outside (for me, the crab walk pee was by far the easiest), select campsites, quickly set (and break) camp, cook dinner over a super tiny fire, how to hang bear bags, what gear you need (and don’t need), and all sorts of backpacking travel hacks! My two favorite travel hacks are to use a small, wide-mouth plastic bottle to hold your trash and individual packets of coconut oil for cooking that also double as hair conditioner. (The trash one was super handy!)
In addition to all the super neat new backpacker tips we learned, we covered a lot of miles and changes in elevation … well, a lot to me, definitely not a lot for our guide (she was seriously Miss Fitness! And an excellent guide!). But for me, 23K steps and 75 flights of stairs (in one day!) was a lot! In one section, with packs on (25-30 lbs), we were climbing up to the top of the Gorge, and basically had to boulder our way up. And me, all five foot, four inches of me, struggled in this section – there was kneeling and breath holding and a semi-constant fear of tipping back and becoming a backpacking turtle (and a voice in my head yelling “Turtle, Turtle, Turtle!”). Thankful, I made it up with semi-relative ease, and did not once tip over backwards!! I am so glad that I didnt totally embarrass myself.
The hiking was a blast, the ladies on the trip were fabulous, and it was AMAZING to be able to spend the night in the back country. To have the chance watch the sunset against the harsh rock wall of the Gorge, listen to the insects and animals serenade the night, and wake up in the quiet of nature. And while I sadly had cell reception throughout the Gorge, it was still nice to get away and reconnect with nature. Sunday, after an easy hike out, we headed to Natural Bridge (GORGEOUS views) and had lunch at the Red River Rockhouse before heading home.
I hope to try backpacking again soon. I am still not super confident on how to select the trails or where to camp on the trail, but I am excited to put my new skills to work!
Would anyone want to come with me? Anyone have any suggestions on where to go?