In my never ending quest to pack more outdoor experience into my life, I borrowed a frame and backpack, threw some gear inside, and hiked two miles up Grandfather Mountain to camp. A couple of observations:
- Even minimally packed hiking packs get heavy. They put torque on your knees and ankles, where one bad foot strike could cause injury.
- I sweat. A lot. Even moving very slow and deliberate, I was dripping off my face and through my shirt. The pack rides on your hips and shoulders and the heavy straps were wet. Not a good feeling and once you're moving with that monster pack, you don't want to stop until the destination is at hand.
- Camping is cool. You pitch your tent and settle in. The forest is quiet and the steady wind moves through the trees. I sat on a rock and read an entire book. Can't think of the last time that happened.
- Bear warnings were posted at the site. A bunch of stuff about hanging your food in a bag over a tree branch. I had a banana peel and a protein bar wrapper in a baggy and wondered if that constitutes bear bait.
- Packed up and hiked down the mountain at 8 am. More torque on the knees making the trip down but still around 30 minutes a mile.
- If you need to shop for some camping gear at good prices check out overstock.com. Good stuff. I'm looking at backpacks, bags, and a pillow that compresses into a little bag.