Backpacking for Beginners TRAIL HELP!

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By calturtle13 on 03/21/2011  20:54

My boyfriend and I are getting into backpacking. I'm looking for an easy-moderate backcountry trail in the North/NW Oregon or South/SW Washington area for us to do when it starts warming up a bit. 

We just got our packs, the stove, the other gear/equipment essentials, and have done our research, but just don't know where we want to go and what would be a good start for beginners.

We'd prefer something close to water sources (lakes, rivers) as we're really not interested in carrying our water in. Yes, we have a way to purify and filter our water. 

Also, any yummy meal ideas outside of dehydrated eats would be nice. 

Really, any tips would be much appreciated!




calturtle13



Total Posts: 3

By Forrest on 03/21/2011  21:58

Welcome!

Until summer comes, you will be more restricted to lowland trails.  Herman Creek, while not too spectacular, is a nice trail with some camping 7 or 8 miles out.  Eagle Creek is always good, but crowded.  If you can make it up to the Olympics, there are some great options for early season hiking, like the Enchanted Valley, which I believe I did in May a couple years ago.

Once July rolls around, there will be quite a few more options.  I would definitely suggest Elk Cove on Mt. Hood (A pretty easy backpack with great views at the end), Jefferson Park on Mt. Jefferson (A little longer, more difficult, but very amazing), and the Goat Lake Loop (which is also a little more difficult, but spectacular).

The best meal I've made while backpacking was a penne with shrimp.  Basically some penne noodles with a cream sauce, and we found some shrimp in a foil bag (I know, sounds a bit sketchy, but it was good).  I think we also threw in some vegetables.  Good Stuff.




Forrest



Total Posts: 315

By rexryman on 03/22/2011  12:34

for South washington area hikes around mt adams is awsome! nothing too dificult but early summer the temperature is perfect

 meal ideas:

for short hikes (2-3 days ) i love the pasta for dinner- i pre cook the noodles because i am lazy then put it in a "Zip lock pastic container" and put some red sauce on it

lunch food that i often get for hikes are: sour dough rolls, cheese, summer sausage, and crackers. also the tin foil tuna packs from trader joes are awsome on the bread.

Winco and top foods have the build you own trail mix: i bring a few hand fulls of almonds, granola, (lets be real m&ms are great), and rasins.

Im not a fan of regular cliff bars, but "zbars" the kids ones are great.
 i bring vegtables on hikes...like big carrots (kinda weird but what ever)

I think that my favorite light weight meal ideas:breakfast would be oatmeal, and then broken up inside is a nature vally bar...yumm!

for me i go light weight on my gear, but will always bring extra food, becasue i hate rationing my food out!

for the purified water it some times tastes a little funky.. so i bring a few crystal lite packs or gatorade to add if the water doesn't taste too clean




rexryman



Total Posts: 12

By Forrest on 03/22/2011  20:25

Quote by: 'rexryman'

i bring vegtables on hikes...like big carrots (kinda weird but what ever)


I don't think I fully enjoyed eating while backpacking until I started bringing vegetables!  Brocolli, Peppers and Carrots work great.  I love bringing an onion--but it does smell up your bag. 




Forrest



Total Posts: 315

By rexryman on 03/23/2011  21:49

Quote by: 'Forrest'

Quote by: 'rexryman'

i bring vegtables on hikes...like big carrots (kinda weird but what ever)


I love bringing an onion--but it does smell up your bag. 


 i'm pretty sure that an onion will smell better than my grimey gear! Haha




rexryman



Total Posts: 12

By wyicked on 03/25/2011  08:43

I think that no matter where you go hiking, you will want to carry water (at least some). Fortunately, just about every trail in NW Oregon and SW Washington has lakes/springs/rivers so water sources really aren't hard to come by. But along the hikes themselves you'll be dying to hydrate and guzzling at the next water stop just means you'll be bloated for the next mile - not the most comfortable feeling to be hiking with!

It sucks water is the most heavy of items to hike with, but just trust me (and others) and bring at least an empty bladder. It'll weigh next to nothing and if you need it, at least you'll have something to carry your water in.

As for cuisine, just about anything tastes amazing after a day of hiking! What makes or breaks a meal are how you season something. My favorite item to add is soy, adding it to any pasta or rice with veggies is enough to send you into the stratosphere!

Personal favorite: Lo mein noodles with chinese sausage, pre-cooked mushrooms, carrots, and soy sauce is a trail delicacy! :)




wyicked



Total Posts: 2

By nryche99 on 04/04/2011  06:49

I'm not to sure of trails in south WA and north Oregon, but if you are just getting started I would suggest starting small and working your way up.. A hike about 8 to 12 total miles, I thinks, is perfect for the first few times. Even as low as 6 miles... Short trips help get you used to caring the weight of the pack without being totally wiped out at the end of the day.. Plan for only 1 night to start... then 2,3 so on. Nothing like going out with new gear for a few days just to find it don't work well and being miserable the rest of the time..




nryche99



Total Posts: 8

By kendalla on 04/04/2011  08:11

I'm also a beginner and did the Herman Creek trail this past weekend. For a quick lunch on the trail, I made ramen noodles in my Jet Boil and then threw in a tin of smoked oysters. For dinner I made a box of mac and cheese and then tossed in an undiluted can of vegetable beef soup. I was hungry enough to eat my boots, so these meals were oh so good!

I loved the waterfalls, spaced nicely along the trail to offer little spots to take a rest. It was snowing up higher, and that was also very pretty. I recommend this trail, as long as your boots are waterproof since there are several shallow creeks you need to wade through along the way.




kendalla



Total Posts: 14

By calturtle13 on 05/01/2011  03:17

You guys are awesome! thanks for the great ideas, especially the ones food and water related. We've been doing day hikes and getting the gear ready and figuring out what essentials we'll be needing. My dad's been crazy giving us lots of safety gear and stuff for "what if's" much appreciated though!

We'll definitely have to try the Herman Creek trail, I've heard quite a bit about that one. Is the Eagle Creek one worth the crowd? Also, have you guys ever worried about break ins to your car while you're on the trail -- I worry about that even during day hikes!

And, would you recommend bringing your dog on short backpacking trips? Any tips or logistics about bringing the dog along?

Thanks again!




calturtle13



Total Posts: 3

By Adam on 05/01/2011  21:11

There are a lot of "what ifs" to consider.  I say pack smart, but minimal.  Have good wilderness survival skills and practice them when you can.  Every outdoorsman should be able to build a fire in any weather.   Now is a great time to head to the melting snow, in the rain, and try to build a fire.  Every, single "what if " senario I've encountered, could have been avoided or minimized, by a lighter pack.  Once you put a heavy pack on, you've  greatly increased the chance of injury. 

Eagle crerek is nice.  You will encounter most of the people in  the lower few miles of the trail.  You can avoid the crowds by hiking it in the middle of the week and in less favorable weather.  I think at least a dayhike is nessesary if you are close to the trail.

My dog is my hiking partner. Train your dog for the trail.  No chasing wildlife, make sure he/she stays in sight, don't let them approach other hikers and  let them carry there own gear.




Adam



Total Posts: 114

By Adam on 05/01/2011  21:15

Oh, and remember dogs need much more water than you and overheat easier.




Adam



Total Posts: 114

By Forrest on 05/02/2011  09:02

Quote by: 'calturtle13'


We'll definitely have to try the Herman Creek trail, I've heard quite a bit about that one. Is the Eagle Creek one worth the crowd? Also, have you guys ever worried about break ins to your car while you're on the trail -- I worry about that even during day hikes!


I do like the Herman Creek trail.  The first mile or so isn't too scenic, but once the actual trail begins it's a nice hike -- nothing overly spectacular, but a great walk in the woods.  Eagle Creek is worth the crowds, or as Adam suggests, save it for a weekday or off-season, you'll probably enjoy it a bit more.  It is a great hike though.

I never overly worry about car break-ins.  This can be a problem from what I've heard at the more popular trailheads in the Gorge (Multnomah Falls, Eagle Creek), but for most trailheads, this isn't a big concern -- I've never had a problem. 




Forrest



Total Posts: 315

By PDXHiker on 05/02/2011  09:36

I'd like to recommend the Backpacking Oregon and Backpacking Washington books by Doug Lorrain.   They're very informative, and a great place to start.   His miles are a little longer than I'm comfortable with, and often I only use part of a trail he suggests, but it allows me to identify good places to go, best time of year, how crowded it might be, etc.

One of our favorite meals is quesadillas.  You pack in tortillas & whatever you might want to include (we'll use chicken or salmon, plus cheese, beans, peppers & salsa).  If you're not worried about weight, you can take that stuff as-is, or dry it if you have a food dehydrator. 

For a lighter-weight option, we use instant mashed potatoes.  We mix in bacon bits, cheese & green Tabasco sauce.  It sounds odd, but it's surprisingly good & filling.

Another filling option is Stovetop Stuffing w/ a pouch of chicken stirred in (you can add a cup of Minute Rice, too, for a super-filling quick dinner).




PDXHiker



Total Posts: 53

By calturtle13 on 05/09/2011  01:17

Is there a secret to backpacking with cheese? I've seen a few of you say cheese is a good thing to bring along; i love cheese so I definitely want to. But, how do i keep it from getting too soft? Do i have to keep it really cold? I love sharp cheddars... the sharper the better. Do i need to start buying hard cheeses? Or, can I just bring the cheese from my fridge with me?

Also, I picked up the one night wilderness: portland book by doug lorain and am a huge fan. we're thinking of doing the warren lake trip this week for a 2 nights/3 days. Anyone done it before?




calturtle13



Total Posts: 3

By Forrest on 05/09/2011  09:43

Quote by: 'calturtle13'
Is there a secret to backpacking with cheese? I've seen a few of you say cheese is a good thing to bring along; i love cheese so I definitely want to. But, how do i keep it from getting too soft? Do i have to keep it really cold? I love sharp cheddars... the sharper the better. Do i need to start buying hard cheeses? Or, can I just bring the cheese from my fridge with me?


We've been known to take a block of Parmesan and have done Gouda and other wax-covered cheeses (the single-serve laughing cow cheeses also work pretty well).  These will generally do fine for several days out.  I would personally stay away from cheddar, since it seems like it would get pretty oily and soft.  My wife likes to pack our cheese on top of her platypus to give it a little extra cooling.




Forrest



Total Posts: 315

By Adam on 05/10/2011  20:40

Any cheese will be fine.  Harder, more aged cheeses will last longer.  Cheese was originally produced as a way to keep milk for long periods without refrigeration.  You may want to avoid the softer cheeses on real warm days, if sweating cheese bothers you.




Adam



Total Posts: 114