Backpacking in Bear Country

Backpacking Trip

My first backpacking experience was definitely one to remember. It was somewhat of a spontaneous trip only planned a week ahead of time. Took a quick trip to REI and geared up on the essentials. A fair warning–investing in gear is costly but if you plan on making use of it long term, just view it as an investment. Most of the equipment will be functional for the duration of your life!

There’s me, trying out my sleeping bag at home. It’s always a good idea to test our your equipment beforehand…even your sleeping bag!

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If you are interested in on backpacking, here’s a basic list of what you’ll need-

Tent + Tarp

Sleeping Bag + Sleeping Pad + Stuff Sack

Water Bottles or a Camelbak pak

Backpack

First Aid Kit

Moleskin

Whistle

Compass

Camping Silverware + Bowls

Stove

Flashlights + Extra Batteries

A Good Book

Hiking Boots

Thick Socks

Bug Spray

Sunscreen

Bear Bag + Caribeaners

Knife

Duct Tape

Food

Iodine for Water Cleaning

The list is in no way comprehensive but it’s definitely a good start!

Saturday morning we ventured out to Green Ridge State Forest in Western MD.

The view from the overlook at the trail head was awesome. From the look of it the hike was going to be a lot of up and down but it actually was a pretty moderate hike. IMG_4657

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We took the Pine Lick Loop. A moderate 12 mile loop with “primitive” (i.e. no water!) but marked camping areas throughout. It’s a manageable hike for first time backpackers and people who want to test out their equipment before doing a longer trip.IMG_4665

The start of the trail was a bit strange. We went through a forested area but then neared a highway. This was us taking a quick break under the freeway overpass. A bit weird that we were trying to get away from the hustle bustle and then walking near a freeway. There is another trail head for Pine Lick that you can start at which avoids the freeway area.

Though we started later than we wanted, we actually made pretty decent time and got almost 4 miles in before stopping for a lunch break.

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Don’t mind the sweaty and red faces! Next time we do a trip, we’ll wait till it gets a little cooler and not 100 degrees + humidity. Given this steamy weather we definitely did not pack enough water. L investigates whether we can drink the water coming out of the pipe. We determined no and unfortunately we did not see a place where the water was running and not still. Sooo, we made what we brought last. Lesson learned–take enough water!

A general rule of thumb is take at a minimum of 2L per person per day. With the extra heat, it would have been better to take more.IMG_4672

So I got pretty excited when we arrived at our campsite and set up our tent. So excited that I forgot to take a picture of our adorable tent.

We brought some light reading–Bon Appétit . They are a good magazine look through pictures of beautiful food but its also really interesting if you are just getting more into cooking and dining. IMG_4677

Not sure why this happened….L really wanted to build a fire, so we did. In 100+ degree heat and in the daytime but I guess it was reassuring that we weren’t total wilderness newbies.IMG_4679

The hiking and camping (during the day) was awesome but, I definitely got a bit freaked out at night. Woke up screaming thinking there was a bear…it is bear country after all!

The next morning we packed up quick and headed back to avoid the heat of the afternoon.

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Went over some adorable bridges though the creeks were a bit dried out b/c of the summer.IMG_4687

When we got back to our car, I wanted nothing more than a burger. I had been craving one all week and decided to treat myself after braving the woods and bears all night.

We stopped in Frederick, MD. Had no idea how cute the city is! The downtown area is charming and has lots of places for fine dining, shopping, craft beer but also reasonable priced stops with good quality grub.

After a quick Yelp search for the best burger in Frederick, we found Brewer’s Alley. We were kinda smelly and needed a place where we could sit outside and a little bit away from people.IMG_4697

Got some tasty drinks…beer is usually my drink of choice but was tempted by the Mimosa special they had going on.IMG_4699

Cheers! IMG_4700

FOOD. We got the Belly Buster Burger and South Beach Prosciutto pizza and shared both. Liked this place for the good quality food, reasonably priced menu and the outdoor ambience.IMG_4705

Also, the fries were amazing. I love fries when they are really cripsy and almost breaded on the outside. SO GOOD. IMG_4707

Our bums were sore from the hike and our backpacks and our tummies were so full that getting up from this meal was tough! Fortunately we made it home safely and happily. It was a perfect 2 day backpacking trip to get a feel for it. Next trip, we are planning for early fall! Enjoy the summer!

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