Friday, August 27, 2010

Backpacking Trip Part One: Estes Park (Bear Lake) to Grand Lake (North Inlet)

Two good looking dudes
August 10, 2007
Three years ago in the summer of 2007, Jen & Dustin Trail (then just dating) and I hiked up the North Inlet trail from Grand Lake and came across a really fun swimming hole with a jumping rock.

On that trip we came across some backpackers who said they had come over the mountains from Estes Park and were going to end their trip in Grand Lake. Ever since that day I've been dreaming of taking that same trip and stopping at that swimming hole to cool off after a hard day on the the dream began!
The cute couple

Doesn't that look fun?

May 28, 2010
While on a family trip to Las Vegas, Alicia surprised me on my birthday by getting me a sweet North Face backpack...the pieces are coming together!

Don't you just want to take it somewhere?
Summer 2010
When the summer started to roll around, some of the Trail boys discussed doing a "Man's Trip" and going backpacking, or climbing a 14'er (mountain with a peak reaching 14k ft.).  With my dream having lied dormant for several years, I finally saw my opportunity, so I volunteered to plan the trip.

Little did I know how much planning had to go into a trip like this, even if it was only for two nights!  Man, it was easy in the Boy Scouts, all you did was let your leaders plan the trip, and you just showed up! 
First, I had to figure out what trails would actually take us from Estes Park to Grand Lake.  I searched all over the Internet and after several days, I finally found two blogs of hikers who had done the same trip I wanted to.  I also had to make sure the route passed by my favorite swimming hole!

Next, I had to call the Back country Office for the Department of the Interior - since the DOI runs the Rocky Mountain National Park where we would be hiking - and find out what campsites were available in the back country.  In this day and age you'd think you could reserve the campsites online, but NO, you have to call to find out availability, and then you have to MAIL (not e-mail) a letter of request to the DOI Back country Office to see if you can get the site you want.  I know, crazy!  Luckily, we got the campsite that ended up being about 20 yrds away from my swimming hole!

Find route...check!
Reserve camp site....check!
Get people to come...check!

August 19, 2010
Whew! But just when I thought it was all planned out, Alicia asked "What are you guys going to eat?" "Ummmmm.......hmmmm...." I said.  "That's a good question." So the night before we were supposed to leave on the trip, three of the 5 of us that were going to go got together, and we planned a wonderful menu worthy of being termed, "Gourmet."  Here is what we planned:

Dinner Friday Night:  Eat at restaurant in Estes Park before heading into the National Park.

Breakfast Saturday Morning: Sausage links (cooked over the fire on a stick) and then wrapped in biscuit dough (baked over the fire on a stick), and complimented by fresh (store bought) OJ.

Lunch Saturday: Sliced Summer Sausage topped with Cheddar cheese and wrapped in flour tortillas, complimented by your choice of trail mix, beef jerky, and granola bars.  All to be washed down by Propel or Crystal Light (individual water bottle packets).

Dinner Saturday: Stag chili (one 14 oz. can per person)

Breakfast Sunday: Four packets of Quakers Instant Oatmeal (your choice of flavor)

Sounds good right? Our wives didn't think so!  They were glad they weren't going on the trip with that menu, not to mention what all the nuts, beef jerky, sausage, and chili does to you! Haha. 

August 20, 2010
Well, Alicia got all the food for us Friday while we were all at work, and she even separated the trail mix, beef jerky, granola bars, drink mixes, and cracker packs into individual ziplock bags for us to take....what a great wife! We all got together, had a great hike, and no one died! THE END

What, you want to hear more?  You'll have to wait for the Backpacking Trip Part II post within the next few days, but here are a few teaser pictures!

Clinton on the back of Dustin's ride from the airport

Breakfast...doesn't it look delicious?
Let's do this!
Wow, what a view (the mountains, not me)!
Time for a nap by the creek
Ahhh! My swimming hole, finally!

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