Last Friday night I wasn’t planning any hiking trips. We’ve just bought a new home, and when I say there’s a lot to do, its the understatement of the year. But, when my friend Ray from our AMC chapter told me he was going to do some camping at one of my favorite campsites and invited me, well… I was in.
As it’s summer and dark isn’t until 9 or so, I knew I could drive up there after work and get into camp by 7 and be back at the house by 10 the next morning to do what needed to be done. It was a beautiful night so there really was no chance of argument from me. Last time I was at this campsite to check things out, I spent a sub-freezing night by myself. Not that I minded the solitude, but that was very cold for April. Luckily the river lulled me to sleep just as it did last Friday night. I really don’t think I sleep as well as I do when I’m sleeping next to a rushing river like that. At home the A.C. unit has that white noise effect too, but its not a natural one and is a second-rate substitute. That time, I had a 9-plus mile hike with just shy of 2,200 ft elevation gain the next day to warm me up!
I got to the parking area around 645 and headed down to the campsite. I can never resist the beauty of this area and I snapped what are probably the 500th round of photos I’ve taken here. It’s that beautiful. I took video too, as I’m experimenting with my video channel. Forgive me for the noise from the camera. The GoPro is a great piece of tech gear but audio is not it’s strong suit, and the movement from the trekking pole creates too much noise. In our Connecticut video and New York video (coming this fall when we finish the state – check our links tab), I was able to cut and edit and overdub music a bit better. On this clip, there wasn’t much I could do to cover all of it up without cutting out all the good scenery.
My brother and his girlfriend got me an iKlipGrip for Christmas last year, which uses the iPhone instead of the GoPro. I think I will use that for shots with dialogue, and the GoPro for shots I want wide angle views I can put music over. So bear with me on this one video cause there’s some cool stuff in there.
I got to the campsite and met Ray and a few other backpackers in for the night. This campsite is popular because of its beauty and this time of year I knew there would be several in for the night.
I was hoping to run into one of the thru-hikers whose channel we’ve been following but like last time on Bear Mtn, I missed this guy by hours too! I bet he stayed here the next night and I need to go back and check the register. I should have left him a note in there now that I think of it.
I set up my new tent in my favorite spot, and we all had dinner together then hung our bear bags. We talked about their hikes, and our volunteer roles for a bit and then Ray and I went to visit with some local goats whose humans lived nearby and were down for a stroll. The humans also had their own kids there, and their dog. We really need to get these goats involved with the AMC chapter as they did a fantastic job on eating a lot of the invasives! Then my new friend and ridgerunner Kellie arrived at camp. You may remember her from my last few entries.
I knew she’d also be here for the night and so when she was set up she joined us after dinner and Ray took us over to the Ned Anderson bridge as dark fell. While I always noticed the thousands of spider webs strung between the bridge girders during the day, there was never anything happening in the webs at daytime. They looked abandoned. It was a whole different world at night. Thousands and thousands of spiders were in their webs, having dinner, fixing their webs, and bringing the bridge to abundant life.
The three of us chatted and marveled at the scene in front of us. The moon and stars shone brightly above and I used my starchart app to identify Jupiter and some of the larger stars. We retired to our tents and all seemed to sleep well! When I got up the next morning I checked out the new privy that our trail crews just completed at the shelter and signed in quickly.
There were a few other backpackers staying here in the shelter — maybe a total of seven in for the night between the two camping areas. I spotted one fire ring on the main campsite ‘beach’ which I cleared. Guess I didn’t lift those rocks smart because my back was sore for days after. Thanks for not following the rules people! I packed up and said goodbyes to Ray and Kellie and the hikers still in camp. Since it was such a short walk out to the parking area, I just took my time, took in the views, and decided to forgo making my coffee and breakfast, so I could have a satisfying greasy breakfast with real coffee on the way home. I had told Ray the night before about a bunch of stuff that looked like cotton on the ground that I saw as I hiked in and he told me those were the cottonwood trees shedding. When I got back to the parking area I realized just in front of my car, the ground was completely covered in it.
One other thing to note is I tried a method on this hike I have seen lots of thru hikers using on their channels to drink and filter their water. These short easy trips are great for trying out new things. Basically the threads of a smart water bottle fit the threads on the sawyer filter perfectly. I know these bottles are easier to fill in the stream than a water bladder. And so most of them just fill their water bottles at the water source, screw on the filter, and drink. The output is pretty equivalent to the water bladder valve. I found that as I sucked water out of the bottle, the bottles started to crinkle and deform as I also sucked out the air in the process. This made the bottles unstable and deformed and I just don’t see the benefit. It might save time, but it doesn’t provide a pleasant drinking experience for me. Maybe one day I’ll try putting the filter inline in my bladder hose as many do as another ‘hack’. Or I’ll just go up to the Sawyer Squeeze vs the Mini as I hear the flow rate is faster, to save time when filtering.
This Friday is finally the big first foray north into Massachusetts with our friends. I will be sure to provide them with their own filter to save time when we need to camel up. I cannot wait for that trip. The forecast looks perfect, and this is the first time we will be bringing friends with us, and a couple more specifically, into the backcountry. I feel like a guide! I will be wearing my uniform and look forward to showing them a bit about what I do. I will share those pictures and video as soon as I can.
Miles: Only about 2.5 round trip