Friday, October 17, 2014

Round Valley Backpacking

Wow, 2 posts in 2 days.  Go me!!  Cody and I went on a backpacking trip around Round Valley Reservoir that I wanted to post about.  So, a little background first.  Next August I am planning a backpacking trip to Mt. Whitney with my Dad and my brothers (and Tyler too, but I consider him a brother).  My Dad always talked about wanting to go to Whitney some day when we were younger, so I figured, what better time than the present.  Anyway, so because I started to plan this backpacking trip, I have obviously been thinking a lot about backpacking, and decided to take Cody for his first backpacking trip.  We decided to go to Round Valley Reservoir.  For those of you unfamiliar with the reservoir, it is a large lake with back-country campsites on the far side of the lake.  You can either hike or canoe into the sites.  It is about 3 miles into the first backpacking sites, but there are a lot of sites, and probably another 3 or 4 miles to get to the end of the sites.  It was Cody's first time backpacking, and he was really excited to carry his own stuff and sleeping bag.

So here we are at the beginning of the trip just getting started.  You park right at the lake on one side, and then hike around it to the other side.  The first picture is right at the car, and the second picture is after we had been on the trail for a few minutes.  You'll notice Cody has his sleeping bag strapped on as well as a big giant metal cup, which you'll see again later in the photos.  The cup was from Wild Bill's Olde Fashioned Soda Company .  We get them every year when we go to festivals out here, such as the Italian American Festival, or the Bordentown street festival (they offer free refills, and one year we must have filled the cup up 20 times, but that is another story).  The cup ended up working out perfectly for boiling water and eating out of and stuff.

Here is our campsite we set up after making it in the 3 miles.  The hike was nice, and there weren't very many people on the trail.  We even saw a few deer while we were hiking in.  You can't see it from this picture but our campsite was right on the lake.  After we set up our campsite we had Mac and Cheese for dinner, from one of those dried backpacking foods.  It wasn't too bad, and Cody said he liked it.  It had rained the whole morning before we started backpacking, so all of the wood around was soaking wet.  We tried to start a fire a couple of times, but with the wet wood, we had a tough time keeping it lit.  Coincidentally, the Simmons family, who are friends of ours, had borrowed our canoe and canoed across the lake to camp at Round Valley that night also.  They were at one of the sights further around the lake from where we camped.  Cody decided he wanted to go over an visit them.  So we hiked another 3 miles or so to reach their campsite.  We didn't stay for long though, because by the time we got there it was pretty late, and already very dark.  We hiked back the 3 miles to our campsite.   It was a little creepy on the hike back to the tent, because we saw a lot of deer, but because it was pitch black, you could only see the two eyes shining.  It was tough to tell if it was the eyes of deer staring at you, or a bear sitting there looking at you.  We both fell asleep very quickly when we made it to our tent, as our legs hurt and we were tired.

It was very cold that night and the next morning.  We had a tough time wanting to get out of our sleeping bags.  Cody decided his sleeping bag wasn't as warm as mine, so he kicked me out of my sleeping bag so he could get in and stay warm.  That kind of forced me to get up.  Luckily, I was able to heat up some water and made us some hot tang, which was delicious.  Unfortunately for us though, that was the only part of breakfast that was delicious.  Cody had wanted to have pancakes, so I packed all the stuff for instant pancakes.  Unfortunately, I had left the butter in the freezer at home (which I had put there to keep cold as long as possible), so I had nothing to grease the pan with.  The pancakes kept getting stuck to the pan, and didn't work out at all.  Instead we had trail mix and granola bars for breakfast.  I told Cody if we had had Oatmeal like I wanted, we wouldn't have had that problem.  Oh well, lesson learned.

 Cody wanted to go back around the lake to visit the Simmons family that morning, but we decided we weren't up for hiking that far.  So instead we played around a little bit at the lake and then packed up and hiked out.

This is Cody when we had made it up the last hill right before coming to our Car.  You could actually see the car from where Cody was standing.  He was very excited to make it back, because he was very tired.  It turned out to be a really fun trip, which I can't wait to do again some day.  Next time we might go on the Appalachian trail.

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