#1: Background Info:
I signed up for a backpacking class this semester and I was contemplating whether or not to drop the class. School has taken its toll, but I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. This course taught how to navigate with a compass and a topo map, proper gear and clothing, and first aid. Part of the course we are required to attend the field trip, which made me most excited. The trip was to Mt. San Jacinto. It was from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon.
#2: Overall Experience:
- What did you pack? I spent around $300 to $350 on this trip. I even was able to borrow cooking and stove gear, and tent. I rented a pack because the required 80 liter was difficult to find for a good price and a good pack so I simply rented it. Little things added up and my instructor gave us a list of essentials and extras. Essentials included, but not all listed: mittens, bandanna, first aid kit, pocket knife, 2 liters of water, compass and map, head lamp, emergency food, emergency shelter, duct tape, sweater, and beanie/ cap. Extras included, but not all listed, shorts, pant liners, pants, two sweaters and t-shirt, and 3 socks. All the clothing was either wool, polyester or nylon. Cotton is not recommended; cotton absorbs water and does not break wind, and is not as warm as wool.
- What did you? We hiked up and were led by experienced leaders on Friday. As soon as we got to camp we set up and ate dinner. Half of us were sent to get water, but the source of water was pretty much depleted so we had to share what little we gathered. After dinner we had to go in early because the wind was picking up and temperatures dropped. That night was pretty tough. It snowed and the winds kept my entire class up, but in the morning it was amazing to wake up to the snow. Not only this, but we also had source of water: we boiled snow. (Make sure to add water as to not burn snow – it does not taste good!) That day we couldn’t do much because of the weather and we were mainly working on map and compass and hanging out. The last day we propelled and I absolutely refused to it because I had indoor rock climbed before and I was not a fan, but I felt obligated to take that opportunity. I knew I wasn’t going to like it, but I also knew I would regret not doing it so I did it anyway. I was seriously on the verge of crying, but I was able to do it. After we were separated in groups of three and we had to find our way back to the tram station on our own using map and compass. Of course we had leaders to follow us and to ensure we weren’t going to stray or get hurt. I was pretty happy and we had found our way back on our own.
- Friday: Breakfast – ate at home; Dinner – mushrooms, couscous, and potatoes.
- Saturday: Breakfast – oatmeal, and hot chocolate; Dinner – shrimp linguine, and Indian fare (I bought at Trader Joe’s and it was super easy to make: Boil pouch for 5 minutes and it is ready!)
- Sunday: Breakfast – oatmeal and granola bar
All lunches included: dried mangoes, cheese, beef jerky/ tuna, almonds and chocolate, protein bar, snap peas, and pretzels. This lunch lasted from breakfast to dinner and I didn’t even it all and I had snacks left when I returned home.
#4 Overall Impression:
From my last trip to Mt. Tamalpais to this one, I’ve learned much, and yes it is due to my class. I was able to come prepared and well fed. A few things that my instructor didn’t mention, but I will because I’m a neat freak is to bring along a bag where you can put your trash, bring hand wipes to clean your hands and even dishes (we used snow, but didn’t have the luxury on Friday), and lastly tissue, if you’re heading to a much colder climate your nose will run, I saw many of my classmates suffer from a runny nose and I did too, but I had brought tissues. This is definitely an experience I will not forget. I was exhausted and in pain from the hike up and down (I have bad knees), and I was frightened as I propelled down on Sunday, but I enjoyed every second of it. Even at times I felt like I couldn’t relate with the group, but everyone was kind and friendly. I made friends, although I doubt that we will remain in contact, but I will not forget the experience that I had with them.