Cathy and Dennis.
A bunch of us got together and packed Rovers backpacks full or gear, food cans, water bottles, growlers, bar bells etc to experience what it is like to hike with a full pack and to train our muscles to comply in more and more challenging terrain.
Hike 1 & 2 (7 miles): On the Superior Ice Cream Trail around Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhound with a segue to Sebastian Joes for a frozen treat. We started out on black top with the possibility of sag support at every turn to make sure everybody feels good about trying this out, no matter what their level of confidence in their abilities was.
Kim L and I trail blazed on the first hike, which was very pleasant because it was drizzling ever so slightly keeping us at a very agreeable temperature.
The next day Teresa K and Maria joined us for a much more character building experience in sweltering heat with very little shade. We all looked like we had peed out pants we had been sweating so much, but we were all happy about ourselves to persevere without whimpering or whining! Kim mentioned that she really appreciated the opportunity to get out and try this before going on her upcoming trip because it made her more confident that she would be ok and because she could try out her gear and decide between her two pairs of hiking boots.
Hike 3 & 4 (5 and 3 miles): Snelling State Park – Pike Island. Moving it up a notch for terrain we were now on uneven forest ground but still very level.
Lisa, Marsha, Dennis and I hiked on Friday afternoon until dark in pretty landscape and saw some wild-life. The next day folks had to bail out with some very good reasons so I only went 3 miles until the bugs were getting to me and I got bored. Goes to show that I wouldn’t do as much if it wasn’t for my buds!!!
Marsha, Lisa & Dennis.
Hike 5 & 6 (cancelled and 5 miles): Hyland Lake Park Reserve
Because of impending thunderstorms we cancelled the Friday hike, but Cathy, Dennis and I caught the trail on a perfect day on Saturday. The sun was shining, the flowers were at peak, the sumac was starting to turn and we saw three different kinds of frogs and a sizeable and beautiful stand of chicken of the forest mushroom in all its orange glory. We were all glad that we had a good reason to get up and out early not to miss those glorious hours! And we were also starting to feel pretty good about carrying our packs up the hills without too much wheezing :-)
It was a good series! I got a lot of good feedback on it from folks who participated, folks who wished they’d had a chance to train before they went on their first trip and those who just plain are excited to get more folks involved in backpacking! We’ll do it again next spring as soon as the snow is gone and before we get too busy camping out of town. Stay tuned!