Backpacking, Hiking

Our First Backpacking Trip on the Appalachian Trail!

We finally did it! The first backpacking trip for this duo is in the books and now we’re hooked. We hiked about 8 and a bit miles on the Appalachian Trail and got to enjoy the vista views from Annapolis Rock and Black Rock. If the views are this beautiful here on our east coast mini-mountains then I can only imagine how breathtaking the views are out west. We enjoyed this trip so much that we’re already planning to go out again this weekend. 

I’m behind on posting our Disney trip and I want to get back to that because I want to have it journaled, even if it’s only for myself! My website has been having issues the last week and I’m hoping I’ve finally got it all figured out but it did throw me back a little. So for now, I need to get back to posting my current goings on before I’ve missed all the exciting happenings of my life

Our trek was a mini getaway since it was gear testing and was also a tad last minute. That’s not to say we weren’t prepared because we began collecting gear back in early April but a trip just didn’t work out until now when we were like, hey we’ve got nothing else going on, let’s go backpacking!  Luckily I had all the food and stuff we needed without having to shop for anything so I spent the day on Friday getting everything ready while Brady was at work and we left the apartment around 4:45 pm once he got home. 

We got stuck in traffic because of leaving so late and we didn’t arrive at the trailhead until 6 pm with a tad less than 2.5 hours before sunset. We were going to try and make it to the Pogo Memorial backpacking camp but we knew it would be mostly dark when we got there. Our backup was camping near Annapolis Rocks but I’d read online that camping there was allowed only in “designated areas”.

What did that mean?

Where were these areas?

How was I supposed to know where they were?

How many people could stay there?

I don’t like not having answers. Once we were on the offshoot trail towards Annapolis Rocks, there was finally a sign to answer my questions. 

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Beautiful flowers that were all over the trail and throughout the backpacking campground!

 

 

Since we were getting there late, there were only 2 sites still available and it was apparent that they were the leftovers. This was a backpacking camp about 2.5 miles in from the trailhead. We were able to stake our spot in campsite 9 so we quick put up our tent before running out to the outlook to watch the heavenly sunset.

 

 

It was a gorgeous sunset. Being up there watching this view gave me an overwhelming feeling of calm and serenity. While we were standing there, a few through hikers came in and started going on about how they’d just scared a copperhead snake off of the trail. Serenity gone. Ha, just kidding, but it did make us a bit more aware of the trail on the way back to our camp. Since we were ready for bed and didn’t feel like trying out the stove for the first time in the dark, we had our breakfast meal of tortilla + honey peanut butter sammies, chips, and pear cups. I think it was around 10 before we settled down for bed. It took me over an hour to fall asleep and I didn’t sleep very well. I am not used to sleeping so flat and rigid so I ended up waking up a lot throughout the night. 

I couldn’t sleep anymore once it was light out and I got up around 6:15 to set up and lay in the hammock. It was still in the 50s and too chilly so I went back to the tent to unzip my sleeping bag from Brady’s, snuggle back in the hammock and then rest until he finally woke up around 9 am. 

We weren’t in a rush so we had a lazy morning in camp. For breakfast, we had stuffing, mashed potatoes, and hot chocolate and I was pretty excited to realize our pot was big enough to handle the water needed for all of that! 

The spring was close by to our site and I went to squeeze 3 liters of water out of a 16 oz bag while Brady took down camp… It took about 9 passes through our Mini-Sawyer to get all the water but it worked well and the water tasted great! Better than most bottled spring water you can buy at the grocery store.

One of the amenities of this backpacker campground is the use of a couple privies. Best smelling outhouse or portapotty I’ve ever used which is a very weird thing to say. It employs the use of sawdust/shavings to mask the scent and aid in the composting – they use worms to help it decompose. Sounds yuck but it’s an efficient system and no overwhelming gag-worthy smell works for me!

 

 

We didn’t head off on our hike until after midday and we were the last people headed out so when we stopped back at Annapolis Rocks for the daytime view, it was crowded! I guess it’s a really popular weekend spot especially for hiking picknic-ers. We only lingered for a few minutes before heading farther north to check out Black Rock about 1.5 miles away.

 

 

I’d been to Black Rock before but it’s been a long time! It was much quieter here and we got to have the space to ourselves while we took in the 180 degree view! From here we could see one of our church’s conference boarding schools and the summer camp I used to go to as a pre-teen and teen. We spent at least 45 minutes just hanging out here and enjoying the view/snacking on some energy bars before we started our hike back to the car and in that time I think we only saw like 4-5 other people.

 

 

One of the things I enjoyed most about the trail were these pink and white wildflower bushes that lined a large portion of the trail. A lot of the time it felt as though we were walking through flower tunnels and it was beautiful.

 

 

And here’s the view coming back to the car. 

 

 

In the end we hiked just over 8 miles in the 22 hour span we were out there. It was fun and it gave us a chance to analyze our gear and make some changes before our next outing this weekend. This time we’re planning on starting a little farther south and doing the southern 20 miles of the AT in Maryland before ending in Harper’s Ferry, WV.

Exciting times ahead!

 

What are your plans for this weekend?

Have you ever been backpacking?

Does backpacking/camping appeal to you or are you not into roughing it?

What is the best outdoor trip you’ve ever done (or what’s at the top of your wish list)?

 

 

linking with Amanda from Running with Spoons.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Caitlin June 8, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Thanks for sharing! Such a great post! Glad you had a good trip. I’m a hiker for sure, but not much of a camper or backpacker. I want to get into it, but haven’t had the opportunities or time.

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