Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2017, Prepare for Rain.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, rain gear would.. be.. it..
In order to take advantage of a long weekend, we decided to pack our packs, hit the road to red river gorge, hike 2 hrs into the july heat, and camp for the night. For fun. We love a good challenge, and setting up camp with only the items in our packs was definitely a first for both of us. We laid everything out on our apartment floor that we could imagine needing in the deep woods.. bug spray, propane tank, knife, playing cards. We watched an REI video on how to properly back our packs and distributed the weight evenly. Then we made a couple coffees and hit the road. Let’s just say there are a few things that we did slighlty WRONG during this adventure, but instead of getting discouraged, we made a LIST of all our mistakes and counted them as lessons learned.
We humbly present you all our mistakes. On a silver plater. No shame.
1.) Mistake: TIMING. We might have had too much sangria the night before and got a late start. It was a race against the clock to make sure we had enough time to hike, find a good camping spot, and set up camp before sunset.
Next time: LEAVE EARLY. Early to bed, early to rise. Luckly, we got the tent in the air just in time to watch a beautiful sunset.
2.) Mistake: BUG SPRAY. My legs currently look like strawberry cottage cheese .. dozens of little red bites everywhere. We did bring it, but didn’t spray enough.
Next time: SPRAY A LOT AND OFTEN. Spray immediately when you get out of the car, immediately out of the tent and before getting into the tent. July in Kentucky. Enough said.
3.) Mistake: TOOLS. Funny thing about the woods, is you think you’ll have plenty of it… wood. But when it came to building a fire, the options were either the size of my body or size of my pinky finger.
Next time: BRING A TOOL. We needed a hatchet or saw or something to create actual firewood pieces. Again, easier to find wood before sunset.
4.) Mistake: PERMIT. We’ve camped at red river gorge several times, but its always been car camping. Once we drove deep into the trail to leave our car at the lot, we realized you need a day parking pass. We had to drive all the way back to the park entrance for a $3 pass. A 20 min drive both ways full of pot holes and spilled coffee over every hole.
Next time: RESEARCH it. What are the rules and permits of the park.
5.) Mistake: DON”T TRUST THE WEATHER AND ALWAYS PREPARE FOR RAIN. We checked the weather channel several times: clear and sunny. Of course. Luckly, we bought $1 emergency ponchos at the speedway when we bought our permit, but the July skies were not messing around. We woke up to poring rain for 5 hours straight. We had to pack our tent, pack or belongs, and hike 2 miles back to the car in the mud and rain.
Next time: PREPARE FOR RAIN. Bring ponchos, 4-5 plastic bags, a couple large trash bags to cover your packs, put the rain cover on the tent before going to bed (even though this created a lil sauna, it was worth it the next morning), and consider a tarp to create a dry area. Also, watch were you put your shoes. Put them in a dry spot and away from the ground.
LIVE and LEARN. There is no point challenging yourself unless you know how to laugh at yourself. Take inventory of what you did or didn’t do wrong, and get back out there.
See you on the road.