For the past few years I’ve been dreaming of going backpacking. The thought of going up a mountain carrying everything you need in just one bag to enjoy some quality time with nature, breathing in the fresh air, feeling the breeze gently kissing my face and listening to birds chirping, it just sounds like a great vacation to me.
Last year, for Christmas, I received a super cool gift. I got the first item of my “Backpacking List.” I was so excited. I was definitely not expecting to get my first backpack. It was the push I needed to finally start planning my dream vacation.
I started reading blog posts. I researched and read and read so much! There were many nights that I was up until past midnight trying to absorb as much information as I possibly could to make sure my first backpacking trip was a success.
I also found a great recipe for roasted chickpeas which are a great for backpacking because once roasted, they are super light (which is very important when you are trying to keep the weight of your backpack to less than 30 lbs.) and did I mentioned they are full of flavor? They really are! I even use them in salads now. Yum!
We set the date and place once we decided that we were all going to go (instead of me going by myself). We decided to go to Barclay Lake, on the Central Cascades of our beautiful Washing State. It is about 4.4 miles roundtrip and has great reviews. It is a great place to backpack with children, and it is specially good for first-time backpackers.
We started getting a few things here and there. We all got backpacks, better hiking shoes, headlamps, we got two lightweight tents that were perfect for first time backpackers, we got a cool backpacking stove (I had no idea they could be so small!), cookware, dishes, “silverware”, bear spray, bear horn, walkie-talkies for everyone. Nano had an Amazon gift card so he purchased a lot of his stuff on his own. We were prepared (or so I thought).
Kids were excited. Momentum was building up. Then I was informed that our adventurous and nature-lover dog was coming too since it was going to be just the four of us. At some point in one of our camping trips I had decided that if we were camping with friends, the dog couldn’t come since he barks a lot when there are too many people. So there was no arguing. He was coming.
The day before our trip, I went to our local super awesome pet store (Bridges Pets in Snohomish) and got a few things for him: a collapsible food bowl, a water bottle that served as a bowl and a few treats. That was good, yes?
The day came. We woke up at the crack of dawn so we could get to the trail early enough to find parking. We got our packs in the trunk. We got our National Forest Pass ready. And off we went.
Once we got there, we noticed that it was sprinkling a bit and quite honestly it was a little chilly. But we were excited. Nano was exploring… he loves climbing (specially trees).
We hiked and hiked and found the bridge that looked a lot more beautiful than it did on pictures.
It was quite muddy and our shoes were getting dirtier and dirtier with each step. After looking for a while, we finally found an open site so we set our stuff down and our tents went up. We were ready to rest after carrying our heavy backpacks but I couldn’t resist to snap this picture of Nano staring at the peak of the mountain beautifully dressed with a coat of fog.
Unfortunately our puppy was no longer as white as snow. He was filthy. He was very filthy and cold. He was wet and dirty from the mud puddles. He started to shiver. A lot! It was heartbreaking. We didn’t have any blankets or towels to get him clean or dry. How did I do that? How did I not plan for that? I was upset. I became cranky as a matter of fact. I may have exaggerated but I couldn’t handle the thought of my dog being cold, wet and dirty for two days. So we packed our stuff and got back on the trail.
On our way home, he was still cold but we try to keep him warm. The minute we made it home, Kobe-Wan got a bath and he was a happy dog again.
We told the kids that since our trip was “canceled”, they could set up the tent on the backyard to sleep there. So they did. They brought their laptop and watched a movie. They ended up having a good time.
Even though we cut our trip short, we were able to spend time together and laugh and talk to each other without the interruption of “reality.” Nano and I will come back again soon. It was, after all, our first time and we are, for sure, not going to give up that easily!
If you have recommendations for us for our next backpacking or hiking trip, please leave us a comment! We love the mountains on Mountain Loop and Highway 2 and look forward to the next time!