Cory and I are planning an epic backpacking trip along the entire route of the 221-mile John Muir Trail this summer. In preparation, we’re planning several weekend and extended weekend backpacking trips where we’ll be testing out gear and getting into shape. What an awesome bonus that we’ll be able to visit new areas around us that we’ve previously been unable to explore and that A gets to see parts of the Southwest that we haven’t been able to share with our other foreign exchange students, simply because we’ve been unequipped.
This weekend’s trip was to a cabin in Hidden Forest, which is 18 miles down a bumpy dirt road in the Desert Refuge Wilderness area, the largest refuge wilderness area in the lower 48 states. It also happens to be just a short drive from our home.
The hike in was just over five miles with a 2,000-foot elevation climb, and it leads to a deserted cabin. On this particular trip, we were trying out a few new pieces of gear including a new water filtration system (which worked so well!), Cory’s new backpack and a couple new air mattresses. It looks like the sleeping bag I already have is going to work wonderfully, and a Patagonia down jacket I scored at an REI garage sale for an incredible price is going to be perfect.
Our hike took us up into a pine forest, which is well hidden from the road. If you didn’t hike back to it, you’d never know it even existed. For dinner, we ate dehydrated goulash (dehydration is a new thing in our house, in preparation for the big hike), and it was delicious. Several deer wandered through our camp after it got dark last night and again this morning. I loved the way the light played off the trees late last night and again this morning.
With all the work going uphill yesterday, it was nice to hike the five miles out heading downhill after we broke camp this morning. All in all, an excellent first attempt at our backcountry backpacking ventures.