I would like to first start out by apologizing for the delay in this post. I know I promised to post as soon as we returned from our trek in the woods, but I, very unfortunately, came down with a bit of a cold…. Again. Let me just tell you how incredibly over being ill I am this year. If anyone knows an ancient anti-sick dance, please let me know.
For those of you who are new to backpacking (like me), a shakedown hike is basically a shorter hike you take to test out your gear. This ensures you know how everything works prior to going on a long hike away from close creature comforts, and also allows you to re-evaluate your pack or gear if it’s not working quite the way you were hoping. We ended up doing about a 4 mile hike into camp, .5 miles hike out in the morning.
This hike was not only a test for our gear, but also to see how Jameson would do hiking all day and sleeping outside at night (well, not outside, he was in the tent with me all night, but yah know, not in a house). As most of you know, Jameson is very much a, shall we say, pampered pup. He’s never stayed outside more than a few hours at a time, and always gets a plush bed or couch to sleep on at night. Needless to say, I was extremely worried for my pup.
Let me tell you just how happy I was that we did the shakedown hike. Allow me to regale our adventure…
Andrew and I originally wanted to hike the southern unit of the Kettle Moraine. But, as luck would have it, all backpacking campsites were completely booked for Monday night. Who would have thought a Monday would be so popular! Luckily, we were able to get the backpacking campsite at Lapham Peak. And away we went!
Within the first hour of hiking, we readjusted my pack a total of 4 times to get it in the right spot. My biggest issue is where the hip belt is supposed to sit is not normally where I would place say, a pair of shorts. The hip belt has to be placed slightly below the belly button, with your Iliad crest (the top of your hip bone from the side) laid directly in the middle of your belt. As a member of the beloved “hip-hugger” generation, this was harder to get used to than I thought. But once we found the correct placement, it felt as though my 25 pound pack was nearly weightless.
And still further:
The weather this fine Monday was pristine in the early hours. The expected high was in the mid 60’s dropping only to about 50 that night. Why we trusted the weatherman, I will never know. It ended up being a bright, sunny day reaching the lower 80’s. I was layering on sunscreen like it was my job, sweating it off in a matter of minutes and reapplying all over again. On the contrary, at night the temps dipped below 40 degrees. Andrew and I were totally fine in our sweet REI Flash sleeping bags, but poor Jameson was another story all together. We brought a nice fleece sleeping bag for him to lay on top of, not anticipating the temps to dip so low. I ended up wrapping my sleeping bag liner around/ on top of my little pup to keep him warm. To say it was a bit of a rough night would be a grand understatement. In retrospect, I don’t think he was even that cold; I was just super worried about him and felt guilty that I was toasty warm in my sleeping bag.
I realize it seems like I was complaining like nobody’s business, but in reality I had an amazing time, and we worked through some crazy issues in a 24 hour period. Jameson did very well carrying his own 8 pound pack filled with is water supply, bowls and food (Andrew’s pack weighed in at 27 pounds, mine at 25 pounds). And, despite the cold weather, Jameson stayed in the tent with me just fine and slept through the night – even better than me! Other than the pack issues in the beginning, I am proud to say all other gear turned out to be very successful! And the food – HOLY DELICIOUS BATMAN. I plan on doing some gear and food reviews in the next few weeks.
Well I think that’s about all for now. I will post again when I return from PUNTA CANA!!!