Beginnings - Trinity Alps
Although Andrew and I have primarily embarked on this first-timer blogging exploit as a way of sharing our next great adventure on the Te Araroa Trail of New Zealand, we thought we'd hone our blogging technique with some practice runs about our practice hikes! At the tail end of last summer we embarked on not only our first backpacking trip together, but also our first hike post discovering the existence of the TA trail (and jokingly discussing what it would be like to decide to hike it). Looking back, it's almost laughable how far we've come in our knowledge of planning trips, slimming down on pack weights, and learning to leave the kitchen sink behind. Still, it's better to be out hiking with a 45 lbs pack on your back then not hiking at all - and there couldn't be a more beautiful place to do it than the Trinity Alps of California.
Just as a comparison point for our later adventures, this was a three night trip with a fairly low overall mileage - maybe 8 miles a day in the mountains. We took a fairly significant wrong turn day one, and didn't have a compass or gps with us (though at least a map!) causing us to reach our campsite just past dark. Andrew started the hike in jeans - but within the first 30 minutes of climbing had realized his mistake. I carried two pairs of hiking shoes the whole time and my backpack (see pictures below) could have squashed me flat. We cooked all our meals over an open fire, and carried cans of food and car camping style pots. It's a good thing we weren't trying for too many miles! But on the flip side, we enjoyed almost 24 hours of blissful solitude at the breathtaking Horseshoe Lake - a spot my parents had enjoyed probably 30 years earlier, and we found that we liked hiking together enough to seriously consider embarking a year and a half later on our first thru-hike. The path to the Te Araroa had begun!