The idea of carrying everything on my back just didn’t seem appealing to me. But I decided to appease him and let him have his fun ordering all the equipment needed, packs, sleeping bags, headlamps, bed roll, tent and I think the kitchen sink might have been in there. At least, that is how I felt after putting my full pack on for the first time. There I stood, thinking, how can anyone find this enjoyable.
My first sleeping bag was a synthetic down bag that weighed every bit of six pounds. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but when your complete pack weight is 45 pounds, and six pounds of that is your sleeping bag, it feels like a ton. I packed way too many clothes and we packed too much food for one night out.
Nervous, excited and not sure what to expect, we were on our way to Montgomery Bell State Park. We parked at the welcome center to get our map and don our packs. This is when I realized that I looked like a pack with legs. The hood was close to six inches above my head and you couldn't even see my arms. (Please forgive the quality of the below photos. The photos were taken before cameras were more powerful.)
Around the two-mile marker, my thoughts started to calm. I noticed the peacefulness of the trail. I started to take in the smell of fallen leaves. Brian and I come to the shelter, where we would be camping for the night. With camp set up, we cooked dinner and settled in for the night.
The night was a bit nerve racking. I heard Every. Single. Noise. While Brian was sawing logs, I laid there wondering what all the different noises were; wondering what was out in the cool, dark night. Finally, sleep came. I woke up to a bright sunny morning. I survived the night! Eating breakfast, I looked around and thought I could get used to this. I can do this.
We packed up camp and continued on our way. Now, my hips and shoulders were extremely sore. The maiden voyage of my backpack was a bit brutal. (Public Service Announcement: You must have a properly fitted pack, otherwise you will have sore spots and bruises in places you did not know you had.)
We made our way to the trailhead towards our vehicle. My first trip was complete and I was hooked. I was ready to plan our next trip, once I got my properly, fitted pack, of course.