Monday, April 14, 2008

My First Time...Part 1


Did I capture your attention?

Well sorry to tell you this post isn't about That first time. Trust me that story isn't worth repeating. This post is actually about the first (and if I have my way the last) time I went backpacking.

Just in the off chance you have stumbled upon another blog of mine, yes this is sort of a re-post. However, I'm fairly certain, as no one reads the other one, that you all haven't seen this yet. I hope.

Anyhoo, the whole mess started last July. Every year it is a family tradition of my in-laws to gather up the family and take a backpacking trip right after July 4th.

Now over the years, I have heard many adventures of my in-laws going on trips and all of them involved some sort of catastrophe. Think the Vacation movies.


Broken legs, getting lost in blizzards, food poisoning etc. Needless to say I was just a touch apprehensive about this trip.

Just a touch.

Our destination was Desolation Wilderness up near Tahoe. Just the name alone, should have had huge red flags waving in my face, telling me to stay far far away.


Besides going camping with the Marx Brothers,


I had a few other reservations about this trip.

It's no secret that I'm not entirely in shape, so I was somewhat concerned about my ability to endure a long hike. Oh don't get me wrong I hike. Plenty. It's just that I don't usually do 7 miles in one day. Especially when the bulk of it is uphill. Not my strong point.

Plus I would have to carry a 30 pound pack on my back. Are you kidding me? When I tried it on in REI, I actually fell over. It was a bit embarrassing, especially since the sales lady made me march around the store and up and down the stairs for like 30 minutes, before she would let me choose a pack.

Well the day finally arrived. We had 12 of us plus one dog in our party. Now the plan was, that we all would leave early in the morning, and meet up at Camping World so we could caravan the rest of the way. If we left early enough we would easily make the 4 hour drive and have plenty of time to hike to camp before dark.


The first problem with this is my brother in law and my husband, do not do early mornings. I'm talking rolling out of bed at 10:00 is considered the crack of dawn. To ask them to get up and on the road by 6:30 in the morning is really stretching it.

So it will come as no surprise when I tell you that we left at 9:00 and not 6:30. In our haste to catch up with the rest, naturally we got a speeding ticket.


Btw we have gotten speeding tickets for every family vacation, we have attended. Do you think we should leave earlier?

Finally we get to our meeting point and when I step out of the car, I'm hit with the hottest blast of air we've had all year.

Good god in heaven it was 108 degrees outside!! I'm not lying. If you've read my hang gliding post, you are painfully aware that I'm not one to embrace the heat.

All I could imagine was trying to hike to the camp in this weather. I was practically melting just going from the car to the restrooms. On flat land. Ugh.

Initially once we met up with everyone, we were planning to take off for Tahoe right away. It didn't quite work out that way. For one my brother in law didn't do the shopping for food before hand like he was supposed to do.

See the thing is, in order to avoid this very scenario, the night before we had sat down and given tasks to everyone. This was to make sure we brought everything we needed, and to establish that we would be able to leave the next morning hassle free thus ensuring a speedy arrival at camp. Our job was to bring the meat.


So we did. We brought several pounds of frozen steaks.

Frozen. In my husbands backpack. With his clothes. In the heat. Just save that thought for a minute won't you..

I'm not going to bore you with all the minor details of every stop we made, but it is safe to say we didn't arrive early like we planned.

In fact it was quite late. Like 4:30. And we had a 5-6 hour hike ahead of us before it got dark. At 9:00.

Once we had parked our cars in the designated area, I naturally assumed we would take off right away.


Now, my husband and I actually packed all of our things into our bags before we left. I wish I could say the same for his brothers and sisters. I guess they were in a hurry too that morning, because they had decided to throw everything into the car loose, and then dump it on the ground in one great pile by their cars.

It took at least an hour to get everything sorted out and shoved into the packs. Eventually little groups of 2 or 3 would make their way up the trail to get a head start.

The plus to leaving so late however, was that it had actually cooled off to a reasonable temperature. Thank goodness. And after loading up our packs with some stray items including a very heavy bear can filled with food, my husband and I finally left in the 2nd to last group.

The first bit, was switchbacks straight up the mountain. Something pretty close to this...


I of course had to take a breather after every switch. I learned very quickly the art of resting on a rock or log, so that it will lift your pack up and give you some relief.

After about a half hour, my husband suddenly remembered he forgot the camera. Since he was a triathlete years ago, I saw no problem in suggesting that he be the one to run back to the car to fetch it, while I took a much needed break. Being the sport he is, he did just that. Ran. All the way down, and all the way back up and was back to collect me in 15 minutes. Show off.

Fast forward an hour and we have all met up at the first lake. Since it was getting late and we had little kids with us, someone suggested we stay there for the night and hike the rest of the way in the morning.

Splendid idea!! I was just rooting around for a good flat place to put up the tent, when my husband of all people started to whine about wanting to go to the other lake still some miles away. A few other people chimed in and to my horror it was decided we were going to make a run for it. This did not seem like a smart idea to me, but I wasn't about to be a spoilsport.

Good grief I've written quiet a bit haven't I? Well I'll leave you here to ponder about whether or not we will:

Get lost,
Loose some family members,
Make it camp before dark,

and ...

What's behind the story of the bloody backpack....


Michael C said...

Ok, I see what may have been avoidable danger coming and I am riveted. Until part 2, I shall just look at that steak you posted. It has transfixed me...

And yes, your story could definitely be the starting point for the next Vacation movie ;-)

Michele said...

Yes definitely there could have been avoidable danger oh so many times on that trip.

The steak was yummy too. :)

Maybe I'll pitch this story to Chevy Chase it's high time they made another Vacation movie...

Michael C said...

I have never met a steak that wasn't yummy. Not that I've shaken hands with it or anything, but I didn't know how else to say it. Though I suppose I could have used the word 'eat' instead...

Yes, pitch it to Chevy!!!!! ;-)

The Offended Blogger said...

I am going to guess that all 3 happened!!

Can't wait for part two hehe. :)

Jennifer said...

I'm not sure whether to be gratful that I have boring in-laws (no backpacking trips for us) or to wish that I had more exciting ones (better stories to tell). I look forward to reading more.