Posts Tagged With: backpacking
I have had the privilege of guiding several people on their first hike, both youth and adults! It’s a feeling that I won’t soon forget. To see the look in a kids eye when he see’s a huge waterfall for the first time, or the genuine “thank you” from a friend after a milestone on the trail, is something you can’t put a price tag on. Normally that experience has a lot of planning on my part. What are this persons limits? What are their interests? What kind of gear and experience do they have? Meals…packs…location…and the questions are endless! This time that planning was not upon my shoulders…
This weekend was different!
The young men from 2 patrols at Troop 402 in Tullahoma, TN treated the adults to an incredible weekend in the South Cumberland Recreation Area. Our hike didn’t just begin with boots on the ground at the Stone Door Ranger Station. Our hike began September 27th with the planning that was necessary for an overnighter! The boys from the Eagle and Smokey Bear Patrols set the date and location for their first planning meeting at the Dairy Queen in our home town of Tullahoma TN. The boys learned to work as a group and plan the details that 11-13 year old kids would normally pass off to an adult. The boys had logistics to plan…Where will we go? How will we get there? What trails will we hike when we get there? What will we eat? The list is endless! The boys decided the destination would be the Stone Door Ranger Station. We would hike to the Stone Door and around the Big Creek Rim trail to the Alum Gap Camp Area, where we would set up camp for the night. The boys then planned to work on achievements and advancements.
The hike begins with…
signing in and registering for our camping permit at the Stone Door Ranger Station. A .9 mile hike from the Ranger Station to the overlook at the Great Stone Door, and the view from the overlooks get us pumped for the hike!From the Stone Door Overlook the trail takes a right to begin the Big Creek Rim Trail for 3.2 miles along the plateau above the Big Creek Gulf. The Rim trail can form half of a loop trail including either the Laurel Trail or the Big Creek Gulf (home of Ranger Falls).The loop the boys chose was Laurel Trail. It provided a shorter distance to traverse with heavy packs and avoided the elevation change that they would have encountered in the Gulf. The pic above of Ranger Falls I took only a week before while hiking the Gulf.
The Big Creek Rim Trail provides some awesome viewing points along the way. Those points do come at the cost of having to take close watch of your younger guests. The cliffs, that at times are only feet from you, are very easy to navigate but they do require 100% attention from the adult guides! The boys easily navigate the Rim Trail to Alum Gap Campsite.
Alum Gap was packed with Scouts and other campers. We met Scouts from Murfreesboro & Clarksville TN!
An awesome night’s sleep was had and the next morning…
we all awoke and started about the business of cooking and eating breakfast, making coffee, and hot chocolate. Clean up of course and the inevitable packing process! We had church service on the cliff side, and broke camp! Laurel Falls leads the boys back to the Stone Door Ranger Station on it’s 2.9 miles of meandering dirt track through the woods and past an old moonshine still. After completing the hike and arriving back at the Ranger Station in record time, we decided to drive our vehicles down to the Greeter Falls parking area and check out the falls for those who had never seen them. It had been over 14 years since I had been there with old friends and I had forgotten what a site it was to behold! I don’t think this trip is something the boy, nor adults, will soon forget!Troop 402’s future is in the pic above! Our Troop has a lot of up and coming talent and has a lot that has “Eagled out”. The boys above have the ability to help mold the future for their Troop, Themselves, and possibly our Nation. One thing is for sure, these boys will remember the time they spent on this trail as brothers and will hopefully carry a deep desire to protect Mother Nature and all her grandeur!
Just wanted to drop in a couple ideas for trail snacks on your next outing. Gorp is good but gets old after a while!
I brought a few new items on this weekends hike to try out and share! Pepperoni & Cheese Wraps, Endurolytes Fizz from Hammer Nutrition, and Shot Bloks from Clif. For starters we’ll cover the wraps! You don’t have to be a gormet chef to put these together!Just take these……and turn them into this! Simple enough???
Pepperoni is safe to carry for few days on the trail without refrigeration. There are a few cheese sticks on the market that are safe without refrigeration as well. You’ll just have to look in your area. I found them to be tasty and very filling. I usually eat quite a bit on the trail but it only took one of these to cover my lunch.
The Shot Bloks from Clif (the makers of Clif bars..yummmmm) are a pretty cool “pick me up” on the trail. 95% of the ingredients are organic and they’re freakin delicious. Clif suggests you eat 3 to 6 per hour while training, but I usually just have one or two at a time and that may be hours apart. They have just what you need to get you up that last hill!
Endurolytes Fizz from Hammer Nutrition are like Alka-Seltzer for dehydration! Fizz comes in a multitude of flavors but don’t expect to have your taste buds whipped into a sugary sweet frenzy. They do what they’re supposed to do…replenish the electrolytes that you’ve been pouring from your body! I have carried Gatorade powder packs in the past and they pack a lot of flavor. That flavor comes at the cost of the weight, and that weight is mostly sugar. If your looking for something to keep your electrolyte levels high, in a lightweight, easy to dispense container…Endurolytes Fizz should join you on your next hike!
Happy Hiking 🙂
Super stoked and getting packed for this weekends overnighter! While looking through my gear and second guessing the content of my pack I thought back on the “10 Essentials.” The original Ten Essentials list was put together in the 1930s by The Mountaineers, a Seattle-based organization for climbers and outdoor adventurers. In 2003, the group’s updated “systems” approach made its debut in its seminal text on climbing and outdoor exploration, Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (The Mountaineers Books, 2010), now in its eighth edition. When planning your next outing double check your pack and make sure the 10 Essentials are covered! When your out in the backcountry the ass you save could be your own! 😉
Updated Ten Essential “Systems”
- Navigation (map and compass)
- Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
- Insulation (extra clothing)
- Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
- First-aid supplies
- Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
- Repair kit and tools
- Nutrition (extra food)
- Hydration (extra water)
- Emergency shelter
Classic Ten Essentials
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Extra clothing
- First-aid supplies
- Extra Food