Hello everyone! I hope things are going well for you, and I hope that everyone had a great weekend. We certainly enjoyed ourselves. There are sure signs of spring in south-eastern WI and I for one could not be happier. The weather this weekend was nothing short of perfect. We have been waiting patiently for the sun to come back to us, and warm things up a bit. There are buds on the trees and we can see them getting bigger everyday, they will open up and flower very soon!
This weekend provided the perfect setting to test out some of our new backpacking gear. For about two weeks we have been flirting with the idea of setting up the new tent, and sleeping outside, this weekend we finally were able to do it! Most of our time this weekend was spent in the front yard working on things like Paracord and Beer Can Stoves I think I have finally gotten the hang of the bear bag (no pun intended) I have found that there is an art to hanging a bear bag, and that patience is very important when you are putting one up. I don’t know how many times I missed the tree branch I was working with, but I finally got it! The clove hitch gave me some issues, but I am getting better at it. The hubby worked on some of his stoves and I thing he found the one that will work the best for us. So we are both feeling pretty impressed with ourselves.
If you read Feeling That Summer Fever, you will see that last year we bought a pretty cool tent that allows us to do some stargazing. When we started Gearing Up for backpacking, this feature was something we looked for when choosing a lightweight tent. The dome of the tent is made out of no-see-um mesh, and has a rain fly to go over the top. If you sleep without the rain fly (like we did) you will be able to see everything around you. I thought that was pretty cool when I was laying in the tent last night. It felt like we were really out in nature, and it was so peaceful. I think it is safe to say we bought the perfect tent for our new hobby.
Another item we were able to test out were our Marmot mummy bags. I have to say that I was surprised with the way they performed. We had some high winds last night, and after the sun went down the temperature dropped to around 53 degrees (give or take) I did not have high hopes for sleeping outside. We tried to do this last year around this time and we ended up back in the house because we were too cold. Flashbacks of running into the house to warm up went through my head as I crawled into my bag. Wearing a pair of pajama pants, a tank top, and a long-sleeved sweater, I zipped myself into my mummy bag and pulled the hood over my head. I am not a back sleeper, so this was an awkward position for me to lay in. I finally decided to roll over onto my stomach and flopped the hood over my head, my imitation of a slug is pretty on point. The wind howled and the trees whipped back and forth with great force, all the while I braced myself for the chill that would soon sweep over my body. I waited and waited for the wind to cut through me and soon I realized, my mummy bag was keeping me warm!
I could not believe what was going on. I thought for sure this was going to be the end of our mini adventure, but instead we laid there amazed at what was happening. We soon realized we would be fine sleeping out there for the night. A few hours later I woke up, and I was actually sweating. I ended up throwing my hair into a ponytail (which I never do when I sleep) and I ended up taking off my sweater! I could not help but laugh. We were so worried about staying warm, I don’t know why, the sleeping bags are supposed to be good to 20 degrees. But you never know how accurate those ratings are. I was so happy when we woke up this morning and smiled at each other. We both new in an instant that we are on the right path with the gear we have been squirreling away. This weekend also gave us a chance to try our sleeping pads out, and I have to say I was not disappointed. I was actually quite comfortable. So far we have been really happy with what we have purchased. There is a certain sense of security I feel when we have a successful trial with our new gear. A certain amount of confidence is jolted through my body, and I feel a power of absolute calm rush over me. I am realizing, for me, I should stop second guessing myself and just trust in what I have been learning. A million people have this as a hobby and they all had to start somewhere and learn as they were out in the field. We are no different.
I ended our weekend with a short hike in the woods here in our backyard. We will be using the land to train with our backpacks before we start heading out to any other trails in the area. We are fortunate to have a resource where we can do trial runs of everything and really figure out what works and what doesn’t. I feel like we are cheating a little bit. Walking down into the woods (with my new boots on, of course) I listened to the frogs croaking, and the wind blowing through the trees. I noticed several deer tracks in the soft muddy ground beneath my feet, I noticed there are a lot more buds on the trees than I had initially thought. Violets are emerging from the ground. Everything is coming back to life. Spring is here, nature is about to embark on a new chapter, and so are we!