I'm actually quite surprised at how well I fared. Considering the slug I have become in the past year or so, sixteen miles of moderate hiking with a 25lb bag on my back is a big deal. But I made it without my neck even freezing up on me (can't say the same for my husband :( ).
On Saturday afternoon, my husband and I started off at the Baker lake trail head, located in the Mount Baker National Forest in Washington State. It was a 8.1 mile hike into Silver Creek campground, and man...was it gorgeous! The weather was HOT (upper 70s, which for the PNW in April is HOT) and it couldn't have been more perfect.
I got to try out all of my new gear that I have been gathering for my hiking trip to Yosemite next week (yay!!!!) and I learned a few things:
* The tent is nice, but I wouldn't call it a two-person. Really, it's a one person with a little room left over. But nice.
*My sleeping bag is comfortable but NOT warm enough. It's rated for 40, but I would say it's closer to 60. Seriously. I didn't sleep at all until my husband got up and put his sleeping bag over me. HIS was warm enough.
*The air mattress I got is AWESOME! It worked great, as well as the pillow. However, said pillow was NOT dry. (I washed it as per instructions to make it fluff more. I thought it was dry. It wasn't)
*My backpack is alright, but the straps really aren't adequate. I might need to take my husbands pack to Yosemite.
*** When you hear a weird sound behind you, and turn to see a look of shock on your hiking partners face....then hear the sound again a few feet behind them, in the trees, and realize it's a bear, do NOT start to take your lens cap off to take a picture. While capturing a picture of said partner being mauled would make for a great conversation piece, the correct action would be to make noise and walk away....FAST.
I am REALLY glad to have done this test-run. I learned that I am physically capable of more than I thought, and that some of my gear isn't up to par. Good stuff.
I also had a whole bunch of time to reflect (5 hour hike on the way out) as to why I'm hiking. Yes, it's great physical exercise, but it's more than that. It's about getting out into nature and leaving all of the chaos behind, and for me it's primarily about capturing some of the beauty in images to take back and share with others who either aren't capable of doing it themselves, or just don't know it exists.
SO....here are some of my favorite pictures I captured this past weekend! Remember...it's not about the destination, but the journey!
Mount Baker Under Venus, reflected in Baker Laker
The stars were AMAZING!!!
What it looks like in the daylight.
The trail...what's not to love?