Thursday, June 17, 2010

Butano State Park

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I've been meaning to post this entry after we got back from our trip, but I've only now been able to get some time to myself. We went on our first back packing trip last weekend and it was perfect. The 99% DEET helped. I've camped maybe 3 times in my life so this was definitely a whole new experience, combining hiking and camping. We just did a 5.5 mile hike in and 5.5 mile hike out, though there was 2100ft elevation gain/loss so lots of fun uphill/steep downhill sections, which makes for a great way to train those off-season snowboarding muscles. I'd recommend backpacking to anyone who wants to become closer with someone, be it a close friend, relative, or significant other. You get time to really talk, with no distractions, which I think is a problem with communication these days: too many other things going on. Also, as I.S. put it, "it helps you to appreciate the simple things like eating," which I couldn't agree more with.

From Butano State Park

We got to try out my sleeping pad, (I.S.' hadn't arrived at that time yet, so we borrowed M.'s), our sleeping bags, the tent, and the cook set (stove also borrowed from M.). All were a success. My sleeping pad was still as inflated as it was when I went to sleep. The sleeping bag was almost too warm, even without the fly over the tent. The cook set was awesome. It still amazes me at how much packs into that little canister. Such a genius design. We ended up having pad thai for dinner and it wasn't terrible. I wouldn't find it acceptable from a restaurant, but in the middle of the forest, it's a pretty good dinner to have.

From Butano State Park

From Butano State Park

I ordered the Gregory Jade 60 ('09 model) right after returning from our trip since the Eddie Bauer bag is too big for my frame and does not vent properly at all. I'm not a fan of the "rose quartz" color, but the price was hard to beat. And I hear Gregory is a good brand. I got my bag from REI-outlet since they had a sale on the '09 model PLUS an additional 20% off (which expires today). Original retail price was $238 and after the double-discount, it was $127 plus tax, $140.

The bag is supposed to arrive by this Saturday, so the plan is to pick it up early Saturday and then take it on a test drive with backpacking trip #2. 

Oh, and by the way: Butano State Park is a great place for hiking/backpacking. There are campsites with water/flushing toilets/lights near the parking lot that allow campfires. No campfires are allowed at the trail camps, but not a big deal. Less hassle. Highly recommend checking it out either just for camping & hiking or for backpacking.