My First Backpacking Trip
How did all of this start? Well I have been hill walking for some 25 years or more, but always from a base, be it camping, Youth Hostel or cottage or daily trips from home. I have
also wild camped on numerous occasions but this is from an open canoe where weight has not been a concern.
Having listened to the pod casts of Bob Cartwright published on the Out
door Station and read numerous pod casts of other back packers it seemed a good idea to join their ranks.
I had already started to lighten my loads for my day walks and at my age it was certainly the way forward. I began by walking in trail shoes, which made a difference and now only revert to boots when the going is likely to be very wet and/or muddy – an occupat
ional hazard in West Wales! I had also bought a down sleeping bag from Argos, which so far has proved acceptable despite my paranoia about it getting wet.
Last Christmas the man in red brought me a Go Lite Jam ruc sack and an Exped short sleeping. I already had a tarp but my brother in law, Andy with whom I share my adventures arranged for a micro tarp to be made following the instructions from an article in Backpacking-Lite.co.uk.
All that was needed now was to put this altogether and get on
with it. So on the June 25th we set off in the late afternoon to Arenig Fawr to spend the night near the summit and then spend Saturday walking to summit and ridge and then on to Moel Llyfnant.
I was pleased with my bag packing, but realised the heaviest item was the water. With days of sunshine and apparently continuing to remain dry the chances of coming acro
ss running water were not hopeful and we therefore carried sufficient suppli
es. I did have the Travel tap with me but with this full of tap water I had no need to use the filter. It was a useful tool in Scotland earlier in the year when canoeing.
We set off up the track, which leads to the dam on the reservoir and paid a visit to the small bothy, but this was not a requirement tonight. W
e continued up the hill and found what we initially thought would be a good bivvy site and erected our tarps. This is when I found that the bag I thought contained my bivvy bag was occupied by just a ground sheet! I would have to make do – with thoughts of a soggy down bag.
We made our evening meal, Andy
with sandwiches and noodles. I had a dehydrated meal supplied by Be-Well Foods which was more than enough for me and quite tasty. By now we had realised that we had erected our t
arps in the banqueting suite of the local midges. A quick survey higher up the hill saw us dismantling our kit and re-erecting it in a much better location with better views a
nd a little nearer our Saturday destination.
As the light faded we had a beautiful red setting sun in one direction and a full mo
on in the other. It was so peaceful as
we turned in to our respective homes for the night.
I woke at 0600 to see the promise of another clear day. The views took in the Moelwyns, Rhinogydd and in the far distance the Snowdon range. I quietly eat my pre made muesli and dismantled my tarp etc. Thankfully my sleeping bag had stayed dry with the make-do bivvy bag I had constructed. By 0830 both of us were ready to set off.
We first went to the north end of the Arenig Mawr ridge and then back to the summ
it and read the plaque relating to a fatal crash on the hill in the 2nd World War – so far from their American homes.
We then carried on along the south ridge and down to the saddle with Moel Llyfnant and then up to the summit of that hill. We enjoyed more long distance views and after lunch walked downhill heading back to our car. The heat was now just about bearable but I was feeling pleased with myself having just completed my first back packing trip.
I will now be looking to lighten my load and give the man in red another list for Christmas 2010.