Friday, June 22, 2012

Lions, tigers, and bears..oh my!

Warning..this is a long post with loads of pictures..don't say I didn't warn you.

So I've been MIA..partly because of boring things like work...but also because I went on not one, but TWO vacations!!

Vaca numero uno: backpacking in the woods with my boys! It was Joel and I's first time backpacking together and Ari's first time sleeping in the woods. And we all made it back alive.

We headed up to Citico Creek Wilderness Area early on Saturday morning, got lost on the way, and hit the trail just before noon.

hitting trail 105

This hike was went from normal woods, to crossing creeks, to swamp, to jungle, to rainforest, to fields. It was a 9+ mile hike straight up full of crazy terrain! It was toasty but nice and breezy. The temp told me I shouldn't bother bringing pants, so I hiked in my shorts. BAD decision! At probably mile 7ish, we hit at least a mile of non-stop brush. Not just brush, but brush with stickies and thorns! My legs were torn to shreds! 

section of swamp

pretty green woods

aftermath of brush. hard to see but the battle wounds are there! And yes, I've been informed that I am see through due to's a chronic disease

By the time we got through the worst, it opened back up into normal woodsy trail. We hit a crossroads at the top of a brutal climb and decided to go a bit further on a different trail to try to find an overlook. Success!! We found a stream on the way to re-load on water and then we saw it...the beautiful view!!

my boys' bootays

this sign says "closed to motor vehicles, motorized equipment, hang gliders, and bicycles" they are just lucky I forgot my hang-glider

view from our spot at the top!!

same view but this one looks artsy with our backpacks

random pic of me and the pooch..we are both sleepy/hungry

And we set up camp. 

our home for the night

view from the other side

Then we heard it! A FREAKIN BEAR! Joel and I looked at each other like "what the fu*k was that?!?"  I totally spazzed and flipped out. Joel calmly grabbed Ari and pulled us over to the opposite side of our campsite. He knows what to do with bears. He grabbed a couple of big sticks, puffed up, and walked towards the noise. Apparently black bears are pretty harmless unless the momma has cubs. You just have to make some noise and act big. So he banged the sticks and scoped out the rest of the surrounding area..such a brave man!  Ari and I waited for the ok and then resumed cooking dinner while Joel built a fire. I was scared shitless for the rest of the night. I later found out that this was a bear reserve. Someone...cough cough Joel...chose not to forgot to tell me.

It got reallllly chilly at night and the wind was howling!! Then it started to rain. We staked down the vestibules, backpacks under one side and Ari under the other.  Once he figured out that is where he was supposed to be and he had room to sleep/was a little warmer, the big guy passed out. And so did I! The rain was pretty persistent from about 4am until 10am. We finally got up and moving at 9ish. We managed to bring 1 rain jacket and 1 pack cover between the 2 of us. So I got the wet gear and worn the rain jacket and Joel took the dry gear/ pack cover and wore a hat...and my super thin smartwool shirt! Man looks good in a tight shirt! 

guyyssss...let me in!

no seriously 

We opted to hike down a different route that was supposedly a little shorter but was stream crossings the whole way down. It was awesome!! Didn't rain on us for very long and we were already wet so crossings was a breeze! I wasn't even trying to stay dry! And Ari LOVED it!!  

jungle on the way down
that's my purple shirt :)

our 1 rain jacket


and we found this little guy

a stream crossing/swimming hole for Ari

Done!! so we thought...still had about a mile out

We finally made it back, completely exhausted!!! I'm pretty sure Ari didn't move for 2 days after. Crazy trip but sooo awesome!

the aftermath

Teasers for what else I've been up to:

trail runs with dogs


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