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What’s the story of your first time…backpacking?

I’m excited to get out for my very first overnight of the year! Sounds crazy given how late in the season it is but we had our second son in May and it’s taken me months to get back to level. But as I prepare to hit the trail with Trent, it occurred to me that this will be his first true backpacking trip and that means I have to step up and make sure that the story he tells for the rest of his life about his first experience is a good one.

I think I’ve got a good plan starting with breakfast on the trail under a 3000 year old bristlecone pine called Raintree. It’s the oldest living thing in the Spring Mountain Range and one of my favorite places. We’ll also bag a peak that neither of us have done before and there will be some mad displays of culinary ninja skills in camp for dinner. We’re both foodies and have a great time cooking together.

So with my thoughts on how I would put this all together, it struck me that there must be some great stories about first times out there. So what’s the story of your first time backpacking? Share it in the comments if you don’t mind telling your story.

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I'm the founder of Vestor Logic, the digital strategy and web design firm that created Trail Sherpa, ParksFolio, and Modern Steader. I'm a day hiker, top chef in camp, doting husband, and father to two headlamp wearing boys. My work in digital media brings those experiences to life.

  • Jess Mink

    *laughs*  My first backpacking trip was a disaster.

    It was in college and one of my friends who’d grown up backpacking decided he’d take a bunch of us newbies out for spring break.  He spent months planning, sending out gear lists, putting together maps, and everything.

    Eventually we all met in his girlfriend’s dorm room, packed up the food and looked at the weather report.  Where we’d planned to go was still under snow.  It turns out spring doesn’t always mean warm.  We shifted gears and decided to hit up a state park in southern Ohio.

    So the four of us head out past the icicles.  Little did I know that I was hiking with an experienced backpacker, an Eagle scout, and an Olympic level speed skater.  All I knew was that I was slow.  So I pushed hard.  And none of them stopped regularly for food at water.  It was beautiful though and the conversation was great when I could catch up to hear it. 🙂

    That night one of the hikers made super tasty vegi sloppy joes and we all started getting ready for bed.  The wind was blowing pretty hard though and her cheap dome tent was almost flattened so some of the group guyed it out with string.  I settled in on my un-inflated thermarest (what, you’re supposed to blow it up?  Weird!) and preceded to sleep through being rained on all night after the wind shifted.  Luckily the bag was synthetic and I sleep hot.

    In the morning none of us could feel our limbs, one person’s boot had ripped out, I had blisters like nobody’s business from trying to wear hiking boots and it wasn’t supposed to get any warmer.  So we bailed, and tried to drive back home…. at which point the exhaust fell off the car we were in and we had to put it back on with bailing wire.

    I’m now dating the planner of that trip, and we’ve managed to have a few better ones. 🙂

    • Well, it’s better to have an interesting story for your first time I guess!  Look where this one led you.

  • Not sure how I missed this comment but sorry about that Mike.  I was just thinking this morning that a summit is just the half way point.

  • haichel

    my first time full day trekking would have to be walking the 25 mile track from one remote outpost to another even more remote place in Western province, PNG.  We’re talking tropical jungle, swamps, exposed hillside ridges, snakes and other wildlife. We did the whole track in one day and even though I didn’t carry a pack that time, by the end of the day I needed all the my older brother could give me to make it up the hills. 
     I was 5 years old.
    I really haven’t stopped hiking since and am preparing now for an 8 – 10 day hike across the remote south coast of Tasmania – fly in, hike out, no facilities and 3 mountain ranges to cross.  Day three will be a challenge – we have to hike from sea level to 3,280 ft and back down again in a single day, with our packs still laden.  But, I’m so looking forward to it and plan to keep hiking until … 
     I’m 48 now.

    • That’s a crazy first trip!  Sounds like your plans for this next one will be a great way to spend a week or so.

      • haichel

        yeah crazy, but great. did the same track again two years ago. have you ever done any hiking in Australia or PNG ? I just recently did a fair bit in Canada and Nth American hiking was very different !

        • I have not done any out of the US. I sure hope I get the chance to though in the future.