This was Julie’s first ever backpacking overnight trip (and Notch and Penny’s as well)! Overall it was a success, but I look forward to getting the three of them back onto some new trails soon.
Notch had grown out of the backpack that we bought for him back when we first got him, so we had to make a quick trip to REI in order to pick up a new one. We ended up with the Ruffwear Approach and its larger pockets were perfect for what we wanted Notch to carry. He carried 2 Nalgene’s worth of water as well as the dogs’ bowl and both of their bags of food. He really seemed proud to have a job to do on the trail. I can’t wait to give him the opportunity again soon!
We went on the Trip with Glen, Emma, and Ben and we decided to do the short end of the loop to the top of the mountain so that they could move at their own pace while we learned what the dogs were up for. We beat them to the top and chilled out in the shade for an hour or so before they caught up to us and we all got camp set up.
Another new addition to my backpacking kit was the GSI Pinnacle Dualist. It is a very clever design and is quite compact. We had the same heat problems trying to cook something in the pots beyond just boiling water, but that is to be expected. I am thinking of picking up a heat diffuser in the near future to better control the very directional heat I get off of my Pocket Rocket stove.
Aside from a unfortunate incident involving Penny and my sleeping bag it was a great trip! Bell Mountain is a fantastic short hike that can give you an idea of what it is like to camp out in the backcountry without having to knock out 30 miles over the course of two days. The only downside to the trip is that water can be a little difficult to get ahold of so you need to carry in most of what you plan to use. If you haven’t hiked to the top of Bell Mountain you should get our there!