El albergue

El albergue

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Oh yeah, I went backpacking, didn't I?

I just realized I never wrote anything about the backpacking trip I went on in early April with a couple of friends. I guess that must be because it came about in a whirlwind of planning and scheduling, had its glorious three days of existence, and then sort of got crowded out of focus by the swarming duties of life once we returned. But I think if merits a few words…

It was my first backpacking trip, and as such, I was incredibly excited for it. I was ready to get in some challenging hikes, enjoy the beauty of secluded trails, and share great moments with great people. Plus, we were planning on visiting the Lost Coast, which by all accounts was pretty darn remote and relatively untouched – it sounded epic.

The preparations for the trip were hurried, but it all worked out great. My co-trekkers supplied all of the communal gear like a tent, cooking utensils, water filter, etc; and they borrowed pretty much everything I needed (pack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad…) from various friends of their own. They even borrowed hiking boots for me, which, incredibly enough, were pretty nearly a perfect fit!!

The trip itself was amazing. We hiked about 15 miles in to camp the first day, did a day hike of around 10 miles, and then day three hiked back out those 15 miles again. A fair few miles, and mostly along narrow switchbacks cutting up and down steep ridges. It was tiring and thrilling at the same time – legs and hips could definitely feel the strain, but man oh man were there some incredible, incredible vistas out over the water!

There were look out points with sheer cliff dropping an easy thousand feet from a few inches beyond our toes to breakers crashing on jagged rocks. The coast curved out to north and south, fading softly into the distance. The horizon itself seemed more massive when seen from a ridge top, impressing upon one the true immensity of the Pacific.

And our camp was the perfect hideaway from civilization – a tiny beach tucked back between two imposingly tall ridges, with a stream bubbling through to the waves. We saw seals, an osprey, pelicans, a river otter, and even bats at night. We watched the sun set through an arch of rock that sheltered our little cove, sat around our fire, and rested as we talked of anything and everything. It was hard to leave when Day 3 rolled around and we had to head on out again.

There were, of course, difficult parts to the trip. My friend was having trouble with her boots and pack, and old knee injuries were coming back to haunt her every downhill stretch. The wild elk that shared the same trails we followed left behind little friends on the grass and bushes in the form of ticks that we were forever stopping to brush off our clothes. And the two of us girls got a little lost the first evening – we couldn’t find the continuation of the trail because everything looked the same in the twilight of the redwoods – and we had to wait for her husband to come back from setting up camp and rescue us.

Altogether though, it was a wonderful trip, and I’m so glad it happened. Now, I’m planning out what gear of my own I can start investing in as I dream of more hikes, more treks out into Creation, more journeys in fellowship with friends.