Happy Mountain Monday (is this a thing, yes I believe it is)! Once I heard about #mountainmonday, I knew I had to incorporate this into my corner of the internet because I LOVE MOUNTAINS and beautiful things that you are only able to see from hiking!
This week to kick off this new series, I am sharing with you one of my first experiences with backpacking (no, I didn't just grow up backpacking through the mountains believe it or not) through the Zirkel Circle in NW Colorado. This is a FANTASTICALLY BEAUTIFUL hike and the views are stunning, but it is not easy! I believe the hike is around 11.5 miles and includes some serious vertical (we did the circle in the clockwise direction- the only way I'd recommend it), but also some pretty fun downhill!
We did this trip from a Friday-Saturday, so headed out on the trail later on Friday evening. I believe we made it maybe 3 or 4 miles in before we decided to pitch up camp for the evening and we would finish out the circle on Saturday. It's always so difficult to find a flat spot for your tent when backpacking and we haven't had TOO much luck thus far (unless it's been a pretty utilized trail system for backpacking).
Since this was one of our first backpacking adventures, we had our food all over our backpacks (not organized & not recommended) and carried WAY too much in general. We've since switched over to almost all Mountain House freeze-dried meals (they're actually really good) and keep our food in one dry-bag to make it easy to pack up the next morning (and hang our food at night).
We also have previously had a lot of trouble hanging our food, but gotten better at it with having just one large (22+ gallon dry bag) and a very long rope. We used to split our food into multiple food bags and have rope-like material (also not recommended).
I was so concerned that we were going to get eaten by a Mountain Lion that I think I slept for maybe 3 hours that night (I've gotten way better at just believing that no animal will "get us") and we headed out to finish the circle bright and early. The entire trail brings your around the first lake that you come to and up and over a pretty high ridgeline (with spectacular views). The trails between the two lakes have some amazing campsites if you're able to get to that point before turning in for the evening.
Some things we always bring backpacking with us:
- Large dry-bag
- headlamps (1 per person)
- book of some sort
- Map of trails
- Bear Spray
- Water & lots of it
- My favorite snacks are: Honey Stinger Gels, Almonds, Starbursts, Dried Pineapple, Larabars, Luna Bars, Pop Tarts
Ever gone backpacking before? Have any good secrets or suggestions? What's some things that you always bring backpacking with you?