Took the first backpack trek of the 2013 year on a small section of the Buckeye Trail. My FRIEND-M2 (not to be confused with FRIEND-M) posted a random Facebook stat “Anyone up for a weekend backpack trip?” At first the thought of a winter excursion gave me cold shivers. Then I realized I needed to get out of the apartment. Doing random Yoga exercises as I watch SuperNanny isn’t going to cut it. So on Friday morning me and FRIEND-M drove to meet FRIEND-M2. (Yeah they got the same names so I couldn’t think of anything more creative…)
FRIEND-M: why are you putting on the GPS…I am not a mindless sheep.
ME: I thought I would help…?
10 minutes later
FRIEND-M: I thought you were going to turn on the GPS?
We met him at the trail-head of part of the Buckeye Trail. Then everything went perfect–it was like the weather loved us. Suddenly the snow started to melt, the rain stopped, the sun started warming our toes! That is right–when we left it was down-pour rain, snow was on the ground, and it was COLD. As soon as we got to the trail-head though all that ugly weather seemed to disappear.
VIA text with friend M2:
FRIEND-M2: I hope you are ready to get wet this weekend….
ME: …uh… that’s what she said….
Sunshine is coming
I am happy to have friends just as crazy as me ready to take a shortly planned trip. Of course the trail being the buckeye trail–who is really concerned? The biggest element of danger in Ohio is the weather at this time. Yeah, we got snakes, coyotes, bobcats–but let’s face it they are few and far between. We need to be concerned about keeping our feet dry and packs waterproof.
The trail that we took was marked well and mostly rural. (almost half of the buckeye trail will take you through towns and on roads.)
m1 and M2 hiking on road section
I was very revived being on the trail again. I made a goal to take at least an out and back trip monthly this year. I think that it benefits more than my health physically but mentally.
M1 decides how to cross the stream
So the funnest part about this trip and the hardest was our off-trail decision. We did not want to just go back the way that we came–but to circle around to the car. So we had to do a little bit of mapping, plowing through multi-flora-rose bushes, and generally crossing over every bog in the tri-county area.
one of our thorn-thru’s (friend-m1)
thorn hitched a ride on my tarp. (as well as all over my uncovered skin)
Day 1 we had really wet shoes and socks after the hike so we dried them out and kept warm with beer and a fire. It was a pretty warm night for January and all three of us wondered how Ohio weather worked.
M2 let me make him pose for this cool shot:
M2 tends fire.
That night we heard coyotes running through some of the grasslands.
M2: I think that was coyotes.
ME: *thoughtful* Couldn’t have been beagles?
M2: it’s a little to late or early for the hunters… def. coyotes.
ME: How BIG are coyotes
M2: well… we might find out how big in a minute….
In case you are wondering we never found out how big the coyotes were–but we did see some prints of some animals. I think still that some hunters were out when they were not suppose to be. Later we found a deer carcass, lots of paw prints of small dogs, and some raccoons prints.
Currently it is rabbit and squirrel season–and we saw enough rabbits that it would have been safe to say that’s why we also saw and heard multiple hunters in the woods. Because of this we put the yellow flag up to show hunters we were in fact not bunnies–just a buncha granola hippies.
Hey Over here…
We managed to make one hunter less than pleased with us. However, me and M2 think that if you are going to hunt on recreation land and off the site of a major trail you should expect someone other than your beagles to scare the rabbits. We aren’t saying that we did it on purpose–we tried to hike around the hunters a couple of times. Nothing is scarier than knowing that over the hill is a bunch of rednecks shooting at the ground blindly. (Now that is assuming that they are the not so brilliant hunter that we are stereotyping them out to be.) My father hunts, my mother, even my little brother. However… we do it where we know we aren’t going to run into a group of people. There were so many other people out there hunting and hiking–in JANUARY!!
in the grass…rabbits point of view.
What really got me excited and loving this hike is AMAZON and I are planning a benefit hike for the camp we work at. We want to go around the Buckeye trail promoting camp, raising money, and generally being bad-ass chicks. Tentatively the hike will happen next year some time. I’d been having a hard time rationalizing planning and preparing for something so big–and I am still a little unsettled about it in my heart. However, after I got home and I Skype AMAZON–who is currently working abroad in Scotland, my heart is a little bit at ease. You see if I don’t continue to plan, to jump into things, to take impromptu hikes on the weekends I know in 5 years I am going to wish I had. I already wish I would have planned these other trips sooner–gotten into shape more to climb etc.
Someone once told me: “You can wish in one hand and shit in the other–see which one piles up faster.”
So, in a year–whether I have met the love of my life, gotten the job of my dreams, or some other equally wonderful thing I am going on this trip. I am going to raise some money for camp, complete a goal of a long-term backpack trip, and do many more things I will never regret, all while following the blue blazes.