The wife of CloudLine co-founder, Jennifer, shares much of her husband's love for nature. But for one reason or another, she had never got around to accompanying him on one of his overnight backpacking trips. She loves hiking and camping, but the thought of carrying 30+ pounds of gear on her back up a mountain had, like it did for many veterans of the activity, caused her to feel a bit nervous or intimidated. That pattern was finally broken over Labor Day weekend when Jennifer joined Joe on a trip into The Enchantments in the North Cascades of Washington state.
If you are new to backpacking, or maybe want to start but are feeling a bit nervous, overwhelmed, or like you don't know where to begin, well, you will want to read on! What follows is a trip report of our hike, what Jennifer packed, what we ate, and how it turned out!
Here's Jen all geared up and checking out the scenery before we set off on the hike. We got lucky and were able to score a pass into one area of The Enchantments. The Forest Service only allows a few overnight campers into The Enchantments every night, which makes this area highly coveted among backpackers. There is so much demand to enter this area that overnight permits are distributed on a lottery system every winter. Because it was fairly late in the year, we were able to buy a permit only 5 days before our trip. We were granted access to the Lake Caroline/Eightmile Lake area within The Enchantments. This was perfect, as it is a moderate hike and elevation gain to Eightmile lake, which is where we planned to camp. 3.5 miles and 1300 feet of elevation, to be exact.
Much of the hike is through an area burned by wildfire a few years ago. The young forest growing back among the blackened trunks made for a very interesting and beautiful hike.
Fantastic views of a Mt Stuart disappearing into the clouds.
Made it to the lake and set up camp around 4pm. We had planned to continue up to Lake Caroline without our packs, but we got a late start so decided against it this time. Time for dinner!
For dinner, we shared 2 dehydrated meals, a Thai Curry made by Good To-Go, and the Rice & Burrito Bowl made by Alpine Aire. Both were quite tasty. For dessert we made some backcountry popcorn. After dinner we put all of the food in a bag and hung it from a tree about 100 feet from our tent to prevent hungry critters (big and small) from coming into our camp at night.
The clouds cleared off before dark so we were able to lay out and watch the stars come out. Saw several shooting stars, satellites, and the milky way. It was a cold night for us, but we managed to get some sleep. We will probably invest in some better sleeping bags soon.
In the morning, we went and explored around the lake for a while before breakfast. For breakfast we had oatmeal with dehydrated blueberries, hard boiled eggs, and tea/coffee. The Starbucks instant coffee is great to take camping or backpacking.
After breakfast we broke down our camp and started back down the trail, making sure to pack out everything we had packed in. It was a great trip and first experience overnight backpacking for Jen.
Before you set out on your first backpacking adventure, read our guide to avoiding blister when hiking.
CloudLine ambassadors Justin and Patrice Lavigne live a life less ordinary. They are constantly doing what they love and that involves adventures like thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2011, living in their van for months at a time, spending the summer guiding kids on outdoor adventures at summer camps, writing for Backpacker's Magazine, and in 2015 they thru-hiked New Zealand's long trail, Te Araroa.
Beginning May 1st, 2017 the Lavigne's will be hitting the road in their camper van to speak about their thru-hike of Te Araroa at 31 events across the country.