Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Backpacking Pedernales

I recently became interested in a hobby where you carry everything on your back, walk several miles, sleep on the ground and eat rehydrated dehydrated food. This hobby includes spending 75% of your time trying to get comfortable whether it's trying to stay dry, warm, hydrated, fed, clean or getting adequate sleep on the ground. The other 25% of your time is spent seeing really cool stuff and taking lots of pictures! This hobby has a name, backpacking.
On this adventure I recruited a good friend who had a lot of car camping experience with family and scouts but little backpacking experience. I convinced her that this was her destiny and that she needed to exercise her inner thrill seeking she-woman.
We hiked 2 miles to get to the primitive area at Pedernales State Park on Wolf Mountain. But true to female fashion, walked an extra 1/2 mile evaluating the attributes and deficiencies of each site. It was the backcountry version of "where do we move the couch".
There are several spring-fed creeks that dump into the river. All but one were wet which was great since we were filtering water the whole trip. We didn't have to go far to filter.

We followed Mescal Creek down to the Pedernales River on the first day after we set up camp. I loved this section of the river. The primitive campers were coming down the bluffs but there were few of them and the river front was pretty wild but hikable. Most people that come to this park visit only the falls and the beach. This section was serene and natural.

We stopped to enjoy the view, take some pics and dip our sore feet in the frigid river. Oh man! That felt good.
For dinner that night we had Chicken Pot Pie from the book Lip Smackin Backpackin. This book was very helpful in understanding backcountry cuisine and why it's so important to not only plan carefully but of the importance of having variety. I definitely recommend this book and do read the introduction. It's insightful. The pot pie was easy and declicious, you do need a food dehydrater. Just borrow one like I did.
The next morning we attempted Caramel Pecan Rolls. I knew of the danger of burning sugar so we had a back-up. We needed the backup. We burned the bottom, the sugar part but I could tell it would have been awesome. I am going to try it at home but with a thinner batter and I am going to add 1/4 cup of water after the sugar melts. I think more steam would have cooked the bisquick dough fast and avoiding the burnt sugar with doughy dough still left to cook. I will practice with my backpacking pan to try to re-create and see if it's worth another go.
The falls were beautiful and we took many pics, too many to post here. We hiked a total of 15 miles in 48 hours up and down bluffs. We have sore muscles and are now recuperating. If you are unable to get a hold of either one of us, be patient, eventually we be awake and reachable.
The gear we loved: Osprey Ariel 65 pack, MSR Whisper Lite stove, Esbit pocket stove, army poncho (we strung it up for shade and it provided shelter when it rained), Camelback 3L water bladder, Katydyn Hiker Pro water filter, thermarest and coleman pads, REI down mummy bag, Columbia zip-off pants, all the cool and cheap non-cotton camping clothes from Goodwill. Our not so faves: the too-heavy tent (we knew this going in but ran out of funds for a backpacking tent). Wish we had: an extra bowl each, CHAIRS!, and I wish I had a hard shell.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Crafty Fundraising

One of our friends daughter-in-law is fighting cancer for the second time. She is unfortunately uninsured and needs a rather large deposit to start chemotherapy. She is a fighter though and her family has started this crafty fundraiser in order to get chemo started ASAP. No donation is too small. If you are able to spread the word via social networking or word of mouth, that would be extremely helpful also. Thanks in advance!