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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Camping Out ~ What We Took With Us: Trek through Yellowstone- Part 3

If you missed the other posts about our adventure click here for Part 1 or here for Part 2
But for today,
please, oh please, don’t be upset! 

I know I said we would go to Mr. Bubbles today, but that will happen next week

it will be worth the wait, I promise

I have decided to talk to you about our hike in general first

Such as what are some key things you want to take with you. . .


This is my pack & hiking stick

fully loaded it weighed in at 38 pounds

Remember, you are literally packing EVERYTHING you need on your back so light weight is essential.  It is surprising how quickly things add to the weight on your back.

A general rule of thumb is that your pack should come in between 20-25% of your body weight . . .
Much of this depends on your own personal conditioning and fitness level. 

the lighter your pack the less fatigue you will experience feeling more nimble and cover the distance you intend to go much faster. 

In hindsight, there are a few things I took along that I would definitely leave behind next time
experience with a pack will definitely be on your side, if you are a first timer talk with someone with a lot of experience, or even better, begin with a couple of overnighter or simple two-day trips

 . . . I promise it will pay off in huge dividends!


Superman’s pack weighed in at 49 lbs

We split things up to equalize the weight out a bit, for example, we divided the tent and poles so he carried part of the weight and I packed the other half.

The genius was kind of on his own so he packed a super lightweight tent that was much smaller than ours.


Take with you a hat or some type of head covering

This will serve several purposes:

it keeps your head safe from sun burn and keeps bugs and other debris out of your hair.

By the end of a week without shower and shampoo it keeps bad hair day’s under concealment

a hat will keep the sun out of your eyes, reducing eye strain. . . I opted for sunglasses, which for me worked fine.

if you are traveling through brush it keeps your hair from getting tangled in the brush and trees.

a hat or head covering keeps hair out of your eyes.

If you stop to rest and want to close your eyes a hat will provide a shelter from the bright sunlight . . . and provides a built-in peaceful lights-out do not disturb sign.

I opted for a bandanna, and it worked great for me.

Superman choose a full-brim hat while the Genius had a basic ball cap style hat.

We all had sunglasses, and I would recommend you will have a pair of those too.

for daytime, sunglasses are the prescribed accessory and then you will want a headlamp for night-time activities

You will want loose fit, quick dry clothing that is minimally bulky.  I prefer darker colors and a tech tee – moisture wicking fabrics for tops with cotton pants that dry quickly.  Belts are needed but make sure they don’t sit in the same place as your pack rests. . . this is a recipe for painful blisters and extreme discomfort.


As you approach a group of campsites they were marked like this, when you find the number that was assigned to you on your backcountry permit, you can move in.


Some campsites came with instructions


and all came with directions to take care of important business

That too is a story for another day. . .


The first thing we did was set up the tents


Then the genius would take a nap

. . . even before eating
truth is, that’s what I wanted to do, but Superman was all business and everything had to be

just right. . . then we would make food


Even though Superman was super tired, food was more important to him than sleep. . .
he appeared to be solo in this priority

seriously. . . look at that tired face!
and I barely had energy to take pictures

DSC06246 DSC06248

I simply wanted to take a nap. . .

but Superman wins most of the time.

Backpacking food is definitely not 5-star cuisine,
but it fills up the tummy with nutrition and calories

backpacking foodmountain house backpacking food

(These images are from a google search)

The thing that makes these so great is because they are freeze-dried they are light and easy to pack and . . . for the most part . . . they are agreeable to the taste-buds

Simply boil water, pour, stir, let rest for 5-10 minutes and dinner is served!

if you are wondering which meals we liked best, feel free to ask because some are definitely better than others.

Like most everything else some brands are better than others, we happen to like the Mountain House brand the best. . . and they have a huge variety of meals.

But without doubt, I was more than happy to have real home-cooked food upon our return to civilization

frost top drive in 2

In fact we stopped for a big-ol-juicy hamburger on our way home


Saddly The picture we took of this little stop where we stuffed ourselves full with real cooked food. . . with the genius under the big mug has vanished, we can’t find it anywhere
so this image is from the internet as well.


Each campsite was spacious enough to be divided into three basic areas


"The kitchen", which is where ALL the cooking is done and the bear poles are located.  All of the campsites we stayed at had ready made seating

. . . we were grateful for that!


This particular campsite came with a hammock ready to go for a nap


"Sleeping quarters" . .

this should be obvious, this is where the tents go

We set up right on the lake shore of Shoshone Lake until Ranger Justin came along and told us we needed to move. . .

it turns out wild animals like to get to the water too, and we were potentially in their path. . .

we were totally stoked about this site!

. . . and NO FOOD whatsoever goes in the sleeping/tent area . . . this includes:
. . . gum,
I think you get the general idea

. . . NOTHING that is scented and will potentially
attract bears or other animals is permitted in the sleeping areas!

Someday you can ask the Genius how his pack ended up with
a hole in the bottom on one of his hikes from long ago


In other words,

if you spill food on your clothing it needs to go in the pack and up the bear pole

One of the most important orders of business is to get everything that has had any connection to food

MUST . . .

                                      I REPEAT

. . . IT MUST be lifted above the ground.


So take plenty of rope along to manage this task!


Each campsite has bear poles near by, but far enough from sleeping quarters that when bears or wolves come scouting you remain safe. . .

incidentally we had both visitors . . .

Out of curiosity we would take a limb and “sweep” the area underneath our bear poles then check it out first thing in the morning.  At two different campsites we stayed in, had visitors, and one of them showed tracks of both bear and wolf.


After a quick breakfast, usually hot oatmeal and cocoa, but we also brought Mountain House biscuits and gravy, and scrambled eggs for variety.   While they weren’t too bad and we would use them again, but probably not yummy enough that you would break one open for breakfast before school or anything like that.

good cook wear and stoves are essential to a backpacking trip. . . 

get one that has a self igniter on it

There are several different models to choose from, but after seeing how efficient and amazingly quick the model the Genius had, we are upgrading our system to the one like his.


I would also consider getting a food bag like the Genius had.  It kept all his smelly food stuffs Completely separate from everything else in his pack.  It was water-proof and kept everything in one convenient easy to find place.

Stuff in a pack tends to get jostled around from packing and unpacking each day.
Dishes only need to be simple and light weight.  A bowl (we used the same bowls as our plates too), you will want a simple cup, and a basic pot is all you will need or probably want and set of durable utensils . . .


I would not take plasticware, or cheap flimsy aluminum unless you want to risk eating your oatmeal with your fingers when they break apart and disintegrate, like Superman's cheapo set we picked up for 1.99 at the local hardware store in their camping section . . .    

These are titanium and well worth the expense! (about $20) We both have a set of these in our packs.

they meet the needs of a backpacker perfectly!

Keeping things clean and litter free is important for not only for your safety, but for those that will come behind you the following day.


A good water filter/pump is a must have item

virtually all drinking water comes straight from the rivers and lakes around you, so be prepared to filter or clean it so it’s safe to drink


The water was cool, delicious, and refreshing and was in abundant supply


If you decide to venture out on a backpacking trip

. . . another necessity is a hiking stick.

Find a sturdy stick that won’t bend when you lean on it, and that is about shoulder height, if not a wee bit taller, and one that is easy to grip with your hand. 

You will want . . . actually you will need to smooth the place where you will grip it with your hand with a pocket knife so it is comfortable to hold. 

                                   too fat is difficult,

too thin will be uncomfortable. 

Superman’s stick is on the short side of perfect for him and the genius replaced his with an upgraded model not too far into our journey. 

Mine was just right for me from the beginning.


My hiking stick was one we found on one of our practice hikes before we left.  Both the Genius and Superman found one as we went along.

I admit that at first it was a pain, but as we traversed the more technical terrain it became a most valuable companion. . .

ESPECIALLY for the river crossings!

there were a couple of crossings
that I doubt I would have stayed
upright without my walking stick buddy!


Take a compass and a map. . .

a good map with weatherproof coating.


actually, you should already have this, as it is needed to plan your hike.


your map needs to be durable for packing, repeated folding, unfolding, and being stuffed in pockets and packs, it needs to survive moisture and the general rigors of the trail.

We were constantly referencing our map for distance, direction, and reassurance

I also learned the value of a good compass, it doesn't need to be fancy, 
a simple compass will do the trick.

the Genius gave me orienteering lessons
that part was cool, I loved it!

I definitely need more practice and experience but at least I have the concept down now
that is a good thing!


While not as essential as some of the gear I have mentioned, like a hiking stick, or a backpack I would strongly recommend a sturdy pair of hiking boots!

These kept my feet dry, comfortable, and I felt stable walking on the uneven ground, over rocks and trees especially with upwards of 38 lbs on my back.


Bring a small camera!

With good battery life. . . 

cell phones won't last for a week when you are taking a hundred-plus pictures

Superman loves dead trees and it doesn’t seem to matter where we go if there is a dead tree, he will take a picture


Superman is 100% my man, and I would be sad without him in my life


. . . he is my best friend ever!

I LOVE my Superman!


When we needed a break. . .


We found a chair that suited us and sat down for lunch

. . . or just for a breather


or in some cases . . .

our packs became a comfortable recliner and

a full out nap was in order


This is how we really felt much of the time, especially on that 9 mile day that turned into 11 miles because of the Mr. Bubbles detour

but mostly backpacking was peacefully


hiking along the trail


with kooky conversation to entertain us


Listening for sounds in the forest . . .


enjoying the sights and sounds and smells of nature


watching for wildlife


Backpacking is hot and sweaty,


                                                            it is hard work,


                                                                                                      it is a blast!

Backpacking is a memory maker

it’s beautiful


it’s an adventure!


it’s something worth doing again and again. . .

Yellowstone is a BEAUTIFUL place our Heavenly Father Created for us to enjoy!


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