Saturday, July 19, 2008

5 Days of Backpacking (was this supposed to be fun?)

Tuesday morning, Braden, Jason and I were up before 6:00 am to get ready for the big backpacking trip. We made our lunches and everything ready to go well before the Parkers picked us up around 7:00 am. By 7:30, we were all on the road headed up to the Chipeta Trailhead in the High Uintahs. It was a long drive, consisting of about 3 hours to Roosevelt, then another hour on dirt roads from there. We parked the vehicles, and started the trip in around 12:00 pm.

Our destination was Pearl Lake. There is no trail into it. We had to rely strictly on gps devices. This caused us to wander around a lot more than was needed. We turned a 3 mile hike into over 5 miles. The packs were heavy, and our going was slow. Poor Jason was really struggling to breath the whole time. At about 2 hours in, he tripped and hit his head hard on the ground. It was a struggle to get him in the rest of the way.

We finally found the lake, and set up camp. At this point, Jason was not doing well. The hit to the head had caused a concussion, and he was vomiting. This was causing dehydration, and he was also suffering from altitude sickness and exhaustion. Dr. Paxton was with us, and he was very concerned. I prayed hard that night that he'd be ok, as I was not sure what we would do if he wasn't. We were hours from the cars, at close to an 11,000 ft. elevation.

My prayers were answered, and he was doing better Wednesday morning. We spent most of the day catching brook trout from the lake and stream. This was a good day.

Thursday I was sick. I couldn't keep anything down, and was really struggling. Again I prayed, this time that I'd be able to get myself out.

Friday morning came, and I was feeling better. I was bored, and I didn't see the point in staying any longer. Doug Olsen and Brad Warnock agreed, and the 5 of us, plus McKay Olsen, headed for home Friday morning around 10:00 am. Jason fell twice on the way out, the second time messing up his right knee. We took turns carrying his pack, and I spent the whole time talking him through the pain. We pushed on, and he was tough. We made it out in two hours, and were at the Arbys in Roosevelt around 12:00 pm. We looked and smelled gross, but we didn't care. We wanted the food!

All in all, the trip was a roller coaster. I had fun, but was also either worried, sick or bored. I think I'd do it again, but I'd do a few things different. I'd set a base camp by the car, then do day hikes out from base. I'd bring more mosquito repellent and a better hat to protect my neck. I'd bring a better pad to sleep on, and a chair to sit on as well. I'd pay the money and get some good hiking poles. I'd bring strike anywhere matches and lighters. I'd bring some more snacks.

I don't think Jason will be going again any time soon!

Braden was a stud, and helped with getting Jason back out.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Pilot Backpacking Trip

With a week long backpacking adventure coming up, I thought it would be best if Braden and I took a test trip to see if we could even survive overnight. The only time we could sneak in was on July 4th. That morning, we ran in the Freedom Run 10k, so we started the trip off a bit tired anyway. We left home around 3:00 pm and arrived at the Crystal Lake trail head at 5:00 pm.

Since we saw a lot of snow around, we figured we'd best just hike into Wall Lake, a one mile trip. The first thing I learned was that my pack is HEAVY! I couldn't have left anything out, so I guess I better suck it up and get used to it. We made the one mile journey in just under 30 minutes.

It was impossible to find a flat, dry spot. Our options were flat and wet, or slanted and dry. We opted for the slant. Another lesson I learned is that my sleeping bag, on my pad, is like a slippery slide. I spent most of the night pushing myself back up to the top of the tent to begin the journey back down to the bottom.

I also learned I do not fit in my mummy bag. It's plenty long, but I can't move in the bag with it done up. Luckily, I brought in a long sleeve t-shirt, my running stocking cap and my running gloves, so that's how I slept - looking like I was ready for a long winter run.

The dehydrated dinners were actually quite good. The bacon and eggs for breakfast were beyond gross. My camp stove worked awesome. The waterproof matches burned too hot once they lit, but they were almost impossible to light. I didn't try out the water purifier. Something about drinking lake water still weirds me out.

The mosquitoes were horrible. The repellent I bought didn't do the trick. We didn't fish much, but that's ok. I did realize I had forgotten several things, so I added that to my list.

I called my Dad today. His only advice was to take some pepper spray. I guess I should not question his judgement!

It would be nice to bring in some sandals, if they don't take up too much space. Hand sanitizer would also have been handy.

We woke up around 5:00 am on Saturday morning, and we were on the trail by 7:00 am. All in all, it was a blast. Something about hiking and carrying everything you need on your back is magical. It was also nice to spend the time with Braden.