Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Babes Backpacking Premier Trip!

HOLA HOLA!  Do you guys remember back in 2018 we rented an airstream and glamped at FDR State Park?  We hiked a few little little trails and something that got my attention was a 24 mile trail called The Pine Mountain Trail.  I thought....wouldn't that be awesome to backpack the whole thing at once?  

Well, a few years have gone by but a few months ago I mentioned this trail to my friend Virginia and she was all "YES LET'S DO IT!"  And I'll be darned.... last weekend it happened! 

Virginia had 2 friends and a sister interested in hiking it too!  So it was set!  Five girls, 24 miles, and 2 nights of back country camping.  All while carrying everything in our packs! 😳

Here we are: Me, Virginia, Rosanne, Samera and Kate.

The overnight backpacking was a first for all of us, but no one was a stranger to camping.  
I already had some of the essentials for an overnight backpacking trip, and between the 5 of us, I didn't need to buy too much to prepare.  I had the backpack, water bladder, sleeping bag and hiking shoes.  Three girls had the little pocket stoves and pans.  Kate let me borrow her husbands sleep mat and I slept in her two person tent.  I would have been fine sleeping by myself, but was actually much happier to share!

FDR State Park is about 90 minutes south of Atlanta.  This was the PERFECT trail for us, all five being rookies at overnight backpacking.  Almosth 24 miles in length, the Pine Mountain Trail is not challenging terrain.  There were rolling hills but nothing strenuous. Adding a 30+ pound backpack was the challenge, but we all felt up for it.  This was a sort of test to see if we #1 like overnight backpacking and #2 can finish this trail and move up to something a little more challenging. (like in the North Georgia mountains)

We met at the Visitors Center to eat lunch before setting out on the trail around 1pm.

Once one the trail, we just followed the blue blazes and did not need to consult any map.

The PMT was so nice and well taken care of but we only saw one other group set up on one of the back-country camp sites.  Not once did we actually pass someone on the trail.  What we did see was a big 'ol snake on the edge of the water and I did not like that one bit.  No other wildlife to mention though, beyond the birds. 

The trail winds through a lush fern filled forest, tunnelling through a canopy of dense mountain laurel. The hike crosses a shallow streams by stepping stones and passes a series of wood plank bridges.

While hiking I snacked on dried fruit (mangos, apples, cherries) and some trail mix.  All of which was super satisfying.  We stopped at a beautiful clearing with rocks to eat our official lunch.  
I packed buffalo tuna packets and rice crackers.  I also brought a hunk of cheese and a stick of summer sausage, but because it was warm, I didn't find it appetizing at all.  It's a learning experience out here in the woods!

The campsites were well marked and situated near water. Each of us had a water filter and refilled our bladders from the stream.  NOW THAT'S REAL BACKPACKIN'!!

Kate and I were the only two that shared tents.  The other girls set up one person tents.  

The sites were spacious and cleared out.  The firepits were set up and even had some logs ready to go thanks to the people before us. 

At the campsites, tents were set up and fires were made (thank you Virginia and Rosanne).

We water heated and cooked dinners on the little pocket stoves. Those things are amazing! So light!  (see bottom right of above picture)  As a rookie, I just picked up a couple dried meals at REI that needed hot water.  They were fine, but I think I will get a bit more creative with my dinner next time.  (maybe ramen with bone broth for protein?) 

For breakfast, Virginia gave me two packs of instant grits and it hit the spot so good.  Definitely bringing that next time.  Coffee hit the spot and also caused the inevitable...to which I grabbed the little shovel and sought out a secluded tree for cover. 💩

The second morning when we were packing up the tent, we found this guy on the tent footprint. 😬😬😬

Ah yeah...that is a SCORPION!!! Yikes!

Rosanne actually came prepared for any scorpion stings, or any other bug bites.  She had this little Bug Bite Thing (it's actually called that).  It's a syringe-like thing that you put on any bug bite and it extracts the poison/saliva that causes the itching, pain and swelling.

They tried it out on a mosquito bite Virginia had on her bootie. LOL

We stepped back on the trail around 9am for the last 8 miles! Although most of the trail is under tall trees there were a few parts where the views were amazing! Below, we are probably a mile or so away from the end!

I really enjoyed this first taste of overnight backpacking and Im excited to do it again soon.  All five of us were doing this for the first time and by the end we were talking about the next destination.

Im ready to try the north side of GA (mountains!) barring the threat of bear activity. 😬

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