Field Trip: First Backpack Adventure

Adventures backpackingMy daughter’s first backpacking trip would be a perfect example of “kids know better than adults”.  It all started last summer.  I am the leader of an absolutely amazing group of girl scouts.  Our troop is girl lead, which means that the girls run the show.  Not to say that we don’t guide or steer them from time to time, but in general they make the decisions.  As we sat in my dining room on a hot August day and planned out trips, court of honors, and awards the badge I was most concerned about was thrown out as a suggestion “trailblazer”.  It is essentially the girl scout backpacking badge.  It wasn’t that I never wanted to do it, I just didn’t think they were ready.  I kinda felt like we were just starting to be solid in tent pitching and outdoor cooking.  As the conversation flowed trailblazer became one of their top five goals for the year.  These Girl Scouts take their badges extremely seriously.  I knew at that moment we were going backpacking!

I am a pretty seasoned camper but not backpacker.  Fortunately, I am married to an Eagle Scout who has taken his Boy Scout troop on the AT and was beyond elated about sharing his love of backpacking with my troop.  Not to mention he had ironed out all the kinks with his own troop.  To make absolutely sure the girls were ready we scheduled a two mile practice hike with filled packs at a nearby park.  The girls had some serious books and can goods in their packs so they were sure they could handle the weight.  As we all stood congregated in the park parking lot I wondered if I would need to turn around and bring some of the girls back a quarter of the trail.  Well, the girls ran the first quarter of the hike and scaled the playground climbing wall with full packs on at the playground at the end of the trail waiting for us slow adults.  It was very clear from that moment on they new their capabilities better than I did and they were very ready for backpacking!

Our trip was probably my favorite event this year.  My husband was adamant that the girls lead us with the map.  We definitely did some loops but it was great.  The girls quickly realized the adults were not going to bail them out. Very fortunately it was cloudy and the perfect weather for mistakes. There were so many beautiful, scenic views to behold along the trail. We saw many tracks, a snake, birds, and the carcass of a dead possum. Kind of gross but interesting.  It was amazing how fast the day went. By the time we reached our campsite, pitched our tents, and set up camp it was time to make dinner. Dinner was a feast in terms of backpacking.  All I have to say is thank goodness for jet boils.  They make cooking a breeze.  We had dehydrated spaghetti and meat sauce.  It was a little crunchy but good. The big hit was Mountain House chicken terriyaki and chicken with noodles.  Those were by far everybody’s favorite on the backpacking buffet. All the moms joked that we were going to stock our pantries with Mountain House for crazy days we needed meals on the go.  After dinner we star gazed. Mars and Venus were in view. Unlike most Girl Scout camp outs which involve girls in their tents chatting for hours, after 30 minutes they were out. The way back was just as beautiful as our hike in.  The girls had so much fun. One of the girls told me it was way too short and next time we should backpack for five nights. Five nights still seems a little ambitious but I can’t wait for my next backpacking adventure.