Gate Code? (Campfire Story #2)


 I have always been a camper, even as a child I loved more than anything to pick a great site, help set up the tent and start the fire. But my whole life it was always car camping. Let me tell you the story of the first time I ever went backpack camping.

It all started when my wife read a book about some women backpacking the Appalachian Trail (AT). One thing I love most about my wife is that like me she is compulsive!     

Now at this point in the story the numbers get a bit foggy but... Two days and $2500 later we had Backpacks, tents, stove, water filters, sleeping bags, roll mats... You get the point. We talked about nothing but backpacking for weeks. Planed dream trips in our heads, we even had dreams of quitting our jobs and becoming drifters. Like I said compulsive! We needed to get out and do it, a test run. We settled on a state forest about an hour from our house. The hike in from the parking area was going to be about 10 miles we would set up camp near a river make a cooking fire, pack in all the food and water we needed for just a one night camp. Then pack it all back out the next day with a sense of accomplishment in our hearts! Thats the plan... 

This Selfie was taken half way between the car and the site

This Selfie was taken half way between the car and the site

On the way to the state forest my wife called the forest office to make sure that they knew we would be staying the night, to which the ranger said "oh great let me give you the gate code to get in". My wife jotted  the number down. Once at the area we found the parking lot where we were we had planed to park the car. On one end of the lot was a road blocked by a gate. We then realized what the gate code meant. We sat in the lot for a bit talking about our plan. The fact was brought up that it was hot outside and being new to this we might not have enough water packed in our packs for a twenty mile round trip in the Florida sun. And carring that much more weight might be a bad start to something that we really want to enjoy. New plan we will use the gate code to bring the water to the site and then return with the car to the lot and do the hike! On the drive out to the site we talked about the trail map and which way we would come in to the site, we talked about some other stuff in the park we would like to see, and how excited we were. That was the first 10 minutes of diving. After about 30 minutes of driving we finally got to the primitive camping area on the river. I carried the water down a path to the site. Once back at the car I could tell we where both thinking the same thing but nether of us said a word. We jumped in the car and then we both blurted out sooooo... We laughed and I put the car in park. Our first big backpacking trip ended up being all of about 60 feet. We agreed that we would not go back to the car till the next day when we left... Fast forward 4 hours as we sit in the drugstore parking lot so we could go to the bathroom. We still laugh about that trip to this day! That is what I love so much about camping, the moment last forever when they are shared. Now Get Out There!