I “GoGirl”ed, and I liked it!

This post is going where only one post has gone before…Yes…the pee post! πŸ™‚

Again, I will start with a disclaimer to my post…if you are easily squeamish or offended, please stop reading right now. That being said…let’s press forward πŸ™‚

As I mentioned in a previous post about the GoGirl, I had yet to try it out on the trail. This first overnight was the perfect time to do such a thing. We were out away from anyone really, and essentially I had no choice but to “GoGirl” for it finally. I must say…initially…it was a bit awkward. I was scared I would make a mess of myself…then what would I do. Walk around silly for sure…which I did anyways the last day because I ripped the seat of my pants somehow but that’s a totally different embarrassment. πŸ™‚

First things first, I am thankful my pants had lots of pockets. πŸ™‚ The GoGirl comes in a cylindrical plastic tube with a cap. It also has a plastic storage bag with it. You need a place to put both of these items while you are using the GoGirl because you do need both of your hands. I guess I could have always put them on the ground, but that seemed gross to me…go figure. And I also recommend bringing your water bottle with to use a bit of water to rinse it out after. First time I used it, my Nalgene had drink mix in it, so upon suggestion from Slimms, I put some water from my pack in my mouth and held it there. I wanted to laugh at the whole experience before I even tried using it.

Ok…I take it out of the package and get all set up…I am laughing so hard inside and doing my best to keep from spitting my water everywhere. Just seemed so foreign to be standing while peeing next to a “tree”…it was more so a bush though. But it worked like it did at home…no messes except I think I splattered a bit on my boots. Gross I know…but I didn’t know what to expect or what I was doing for that matter. Once done, I used the water to rinse it out a bit…there really wasn’t much to rinse out. It stays fairly clean πŸ™‚ I shook it a little bit as well to get as much of the remaining moisture off it. I put it all back in it’s package, zipped up, and was done πŸ™‚ I walked back to the group, big smile on my face, and exclaimed “That was the greatest thing EVER” πŸ™‚ The act of peeing is now known as “GoGirling”.

The whole process of using it may seem a bit much compared to just dropping and squatting but as I said before, I have always had an issue with that and hate it more than anything. I used the GoGirl about 5 times during the trip and it got easier to manage with each use. Obviously, practice makes almost perfect.Β Once we got home I cleaned it with soap and water and let it air dry. I will be replacing the plastic bag that came with it and just use a regular ziploc. I will use a new bag after each trip. It still folds up easily into the original tube. There is a trick to folding it up though.

I believe I will continue to be the only girl in the group that will be using this contraption and that is fine by me. It made my trip just a little more convenient. There are other options out there but for now, I’m gonna stick with the GoGirl.

First trip: Blistered and bruised (recovery)

The trip was amazing yet amazingly brutal. The desert appears the same but there is always something different…guess backpacking is a contradiction in a sense. We have all the comforts and amenities we could want at home… yet we stuff as much as we can carry on our backs, escape convenience and leave our worlds behind. We walk to nowhere really, find a place to camp, and lay on the ground. We try to become as close to one with nature as we are comfortable being. I learned a lot during this experience. The scenery and landscape is exceptional. Dirt brown with drops of green sprouting from as far as the eye can see. I’m inspired by the rocks and want to climb each and every rock face…the boulders are precariously placed on each other like a kid stacks dominoes. I’m fascinated beyond…I have more pictures of rocks than anything…except for pics of myself.

Food…and more food! That’s about all I cared about. I do not eat a lot usually but I couldn’t eat enough. Lesson learned. I’m still eating like crazy 4 days later.Β  And my pack….I sigh as I write this…was the worst part of the trip. Not quite sure what the problem was at first cuz once I think I figured it out, it was too late. I was in horrible pain…bruised. I kept having to push the pack up off my butt to sit higher in order for it not to hurt so much, but no matter how tight I make the hip belt, it would slide back down. The guy at REI says I’m scrawny, so I wonder if I will always have this issue. Although it hurt to carry, I trekked on through the pain…kept going and going. I love my pack but think the size is too long for me. My hips I guess did their job because they took the brunt of the abuse but i feel what I went through was beyond “normal”. I have read other people with similar issues, so I know there are ways to deal with my problem fairly easily. Will be reviewing my pack in another post to come.

Camp was welcoming to say the least. My sleeping pad, insanely comfortable. The shots of whiskey, warmed me. The food…what can I say…yum! Just 12 hours out and I cherished things I would complain about before. Doesn’t take long to realize what we take for granted.

The next day was tough but I loved every minute of it. Slimms took about 10 lbs of my weight to help with my hip issues. It worked. I was in some discomfort but not stabbing pain anymore. By the end though, my feet were done for. I wasn’t quite sure the extent of my issues but the toes on my right foot were a problem. My big toe on my right foot has some kind of blister underneath the nail that is still oozing. Swollen and a lot of pressure still but not a lot of pain. I love my TrekStas so I’m hoping a change of socks will alleviate this issue.

My muscles were worked but never got sore. The contact points between body and pack where my main issues but besides the mark I still have on my left hip, they do not hurt at all….can’t say they wouldn’t if I stuck a pack on right now though πŸ˜‰ Feet feel ok besides the swollen stupid toe 😦 Just would have never imagined how hard an overnight trip could be on my body. I think we pushed passed our limits the first day so that could be the cause to a few of my sore spots.

5 days in Yosemite…I’m gonna be an animal πŸ™‚

Trip Report: Superstition Loop

The bags are packed, the checklist is hanging on the front door ready to be looked over one last time in the morning, the alarm clocks are set, and we are off to bed. The excitement of tomorrows event makes falling asleep difficult, but 5am will come fast, and sleep is going to be needed to make it through the day. When the alarm sounds, it is one of those moments that can best be described as a child ready for a big vacation to a fun destination. There was no sluggish steps like a normal day getting ready to head into the office. We were up, dressed, and ready to go before we had a chance to realize it was early, and we were tired. Waking up early on your day off always brings the thought “why are we doing this to ourselves”? As we drove into the foothills of the Superstition Mountains with the sun starting to break through the darkness creeping over the peaks and illuminating the valleys our question was answered. This is exactly why we do this!

Day 1

The dogs, Melman, Nika, & Maverick were all very excited to get going. We got their packs ready first and let them play around while we situated ourselves. When it was time to head out we asked a group of day hikers to snap a photo of the group, headed over to the sign in log and made our mark. We went over the trail one last time as a group so we all knew where we would be going. This time around it was decided we would keep to the roots as much as possible, and other than cameras there would be no gadgets. The GPS was left behind and the map & compass took the front seat. From the Peralta Trail Head we headed up the Dutchmans Trail #104. The morning sun gave a small hint to the warm day we were expecting ahead. The sky was clear, the flowers were in full bloom, and our first few hundred feet of elevation gain was behind us. We were feeling great! One of our followers Oldslownas asked us to try and find a “Ginormous” saguaro cactus, he thought was about 1.5 miles past the Bluff Springs Trail #235 junction. This became a giant Easter Egg Hunt for the whole crew. In a forest of cacti we began the search. 1 mile, 2 miles, 3….we had almost given up, but then we found it (about 3.5 miles in I would guess) so we thought. It was not quite as impressive as we were thinking so we were not completely sold on the idea that this was it, but the search for it was pretty fun anyway. By this time we had began circling around Miners Needle. The trail to this point had been pretty mellow, along the way we had passed a few other backpackers packing up camp from the night before and several day hikers out early to beat the heat. As we passed around the needle and started heading to the Whiskey Springs Trail #238 junction we got a small taste of what it feels like to climb with packs on. As we approached the junction we all posed for a group shot and shared in a small little swig of whiskey, it really does not get much better than that!

Fall Gal's favorite spot of the trip

At this point we had not really stopped for breaks. The excitement of everything was keeping us going strong, so we found this really cool boulder that had a hole through it and took 5. The Arizona sun seemed to have something to prove today and was warming things up quickly, the heavy breeze being forced through the hole in the boulder felt amazing. After a quick glance at the map we decided that Crystal Springs might be a good spot to find a place to enjoy an early lunch. Continuing on Dutchmans Trail we are pretty sure we just found the cactus that we spent the first few miles looking for. I believe it is about 5.5 miles in from the trail head and it is HUGE, I would say over 35 feet tall. The Easter Egg Hunt is complete, so now its time to move along. Just past Crystal Springs we found a beautiful riparian area covered by enormous trees, blanketed with cool moist dirt, and surrounded by luscious green plant life. There were some day hikers taking a break here and they welcomed us to join them. For lunch some of us had PB&J and some had Tuna, but the big hit was the beef jerky I had made. I believe it is now the most coveted item of our future journeys. We shared some with the group that was with us and they enjoyed it as well. As we had finished up lunch, the group of day hikers were replaced with a huge group of Boy Scouts (Troop 99). They had planned on setting up camp here, and it looked like they were going to have a great night. We hung around a while longer enjoying the shade and letting the dogs rest, then we were back to the trail. The next point we planned on taking a break would be Oak Springs.

One of the many beautiful displays of water in the desert

Along the way the desert changed frequently, areas of creeks, water, springs, greenery, the scenery could not get more perfect. We came across what Chick and myself believe was the most amazing sections of trail for this trip, between LaBarge Spring and Oak Spring. Just after passing LaBarge Spring you begin a transformation from the Arizona Desert and into a Rainforest like environment. A wall of trees and shrubbery is parted by a dark passage way that leads you into a canopy of falling leaves, vines, the sound of running water. There is really no way to explain the beauty of this place. Just as you make your way through you are then dropped right into Oak Springs, another beautiful place. Huge Oak trees drinking from the flowing spring, tall grass, flowers it was remarkable. We decided this would be a good time to fill up on water just in case the rest of the trail was not as wet. You could tell the group was starting to get tired, were were taking more quick breaks along the way. Fall Gal’s pack was causing her some issues and the dogs were now following right on our heels like a pack of trained trail horses. As we came to the junction where you can head off trail to Charlebois Spring we made the decisions that we would skip the spring in order to press on and get to camp. Because of our deadline for day 2 we had planned on camping near Needle Canyon. This was later determined to be a bit more than what we should have tried to accomplish in 1 day, but we are learning as we go. We made it to just east of White Rock Springs and set up camp just off the trail with Black Mountain towering over. After resting for a bit, camp was set, and we did a little scouting on the creek so we could find water for the morning. We enjoyed a spectacular sunset while beginning to start a fire so we could get to cooking. Chuck Norris had brought along his new camp grill and we all had steaks for dinner, the fallen mesquite trees made for a great taste! The grill worked perfectly and he will be posting a “how to” soon. The night was a bit short, we had all hit our max and were ready for some rest. We all talked about some lessons learned, the highlights of the trip and enjoyed the fire. We one by one trickled our way from the fire to our tents, and continued the silly camp banter back and forth for a while until everyone had passed out. I had stayed up a little longer, broke out my head lamp with red light and my Moleskin Journal to write a few things about the day and then it was time to sleep.

Day 2

The morning came quickly with the sounds of the desert coming to life. There was a chill in the air and being the first one up I gathered some dry grass and small sticks to start a fire. After the rest of the group slowly crawled out of their tents the morning routine began. We, for the most part, are avid campers so this part was natural to us. Water was boiling for coffee, tea, and oatmeal. Bags were being shuffled around with moans of stiff muscles and sore feet. Just before the realization of tackling another 6 miles for the day sunk in, there was a sudden quiet among the group as all of us soaked up our surroundings and really enjoyed the moment. After a pretty slow start Chuck and I went to fill up everyone’s water about 100 yards behind camp as the girls started to clean up and begin packing their bags. The amount of time it takes to get out of camp and start hiking again really was a lot more than any of us expected. I think for our next trip we will be a little more prepared and wont burn as much daylight. Water was filled, camp was down, bags were packed again, and the fire was out. The first half mile or so really was slow goin. Everyone’s muscles were stretching and unwinding from the day before, but then things started picking up again. Until we got to Terrapin Trail #234 and things took a very quick change. I don’t believe the trail was really that difficult looking back on it now, but after the miles we did the first day mixed with mistakes of being rookies the next 4 miles were brutal! It felt like there was nothing but up, every dip in the trail just meant there would be two more climbs ahead and our spirits were being tested. The views along this trail were flat out spectacular however. Weavers Needle felt like you could reach out and touch it, the valley floor was distant and traveled as far as you could see. There were 360 degree views of an endless mountain range, even the dogs from time to time would seem to stop and soak up the view. We found a nice grassy spot with some shade somewhere near Bluff Saddle and had a quick snack lunch while the dogs immediately took the opportunity to take a nap. The uphill battle continued and eventually led us down into Barks Canyon where we met up with Bluff Spring Trail #238. We saw the sign and our map said we had 2 miles to go, there was a brief celebration and perhaps a little to early! I must admit I somewhat dropped the ball here. I was expecting the entire Bluff Springs Trail to be downhill. I normally spend days looking over the maps, plotting things with my GPS software, etc. but I overlooked Bluff Springs Trail. If you have been following along with other posts you may have noticed our route changed slightly based on the recommendation of a reader. He gave us great information and we were glad we made the change, but I was lazy and took his recommendation without much of my own research. Although the last mile or so of the trail is very torturous downhill stuff, there was a good mile of going up on the back side! Physically I don’t think this was an issue, it was the mental beating we took when we started climbing higher and higher even though we all were telling ourselves once we get to the last 2 miles it will be all downhill. The group started to thin out on that last climb, a gap growing further between each person, we were locked into finishing out the day and none of us were going to stop in fear we may not start again! As we made it to the peak of the trail you could see the cliff face that overlooks Peralta Trail Head and I knew we were close. Once the Truck was in sight we waited for each person to round the corner, regrouped, and finished the hike together. There were some not so high fives (to tired to get it up there all the way), we signed out on the book, loaded the dogs in the vehicles and parted ways. The 40 minute ride home was just enough for everyone to get stiff and sore so it became a group decision that we were meeting at the Wicked Witch’s house to soak away our pains in her hot tub! We talked about our mistakes, lessons learned, favorite moments, and future trips.“There is something to be said about the beauty that is found in wilderness untouched by the common man.” ~ Slimms

We are officially “backpackers”

We finished our first trip, although 2 members of the pack were not able to make it we still had a blast!

It was challenging, rewarding, and exciting all wrapped into one. For now it somewhat hurts just to type so I will keep it short. Be on the look out for a full trip report, lots of pics, and when I get some time to edit we will have some HD GoPro footage as well!

Until then, here is an amazing shot from our camp as the sun sets on (what I am almost positive is) Black Mountain

I feel like I’m missing something….

There is always that fear of forgetting something when leaving for a trip… I must have gone through the contents of my pack 20 times in my head… deodorant? I don’t want to scare Chuck out of the tent at night…. Food? The steaks are in the freezer, can’t forget those in the morning….. I’ve checked that the water filter is in the left side pocket of my pack about 10 times….

Seriously, out in the middle of the desert mountains it’s not like there is a Walmart located conveniently at the corner of every trail… so if I forget something… I’m screwed!

Chuck and I are excited for this trip…. It will be our second overnight but this one will be longer of a hike then the last so were eager to realize our pack weights suck after about 10 miles! haha.

Chuck made a backpacking grill (pretty awesome) so expect a review and a how-to-make post in about a week. We are also going to try out our new Exped UL Synmat Sleeping Pads! Hopefully we will get a good nights rest this time (Thermarest Ridge Rest sucks!)…

Anywhooooo…. Hope you all enjoy your weekend!

Β 

-Chick Norris

“Ghosts sit around the Campfire and tell Chick Norris stories…”

24 Hours And Counting

Wahoooooo! 24 hours from now we will be making our way out to the Peralta Trail Head to begin our very first overnight trip. I am beyond excited! So excited in fact that it is actually about 32 hours before our trip and I am writing this now so it will be ready to publish when we are at the 24 mark. πŸ™‚

We will start by heading around Miners Needle (thank you OldSlowHans)and make our way up to Charlebois Spring. From there we hope we are still energetic enough to press on and setup camp a mile or two past White Rock Spring.

Some foil and duct tape can make just about anything

We are bringing Melman (our Great Dane) along to join us in our first adventure, I love hiking with him and he is an excellent campin dog, so I am looking forward to that. I made him a bed roll and a new food/water dish today so he is ready to go. He gets to carry his own stuff weighing in at 12 pounds, where as Fall Gal and myself will be up in the 35~37 pound range (with food and water).

I must admit I have become somewhat OCD for this trip. I mean really, how many times can you go through the check list to be sure you have everything? No matter how many times I look my headlamp is still there, right where I put it. I know it is there, my packing list has it checked off, nobody but me has touched the pack…..ah hold on, let me go make sure it is still there….ok its there, but did I put my socks in there?

I cant say that I am nervous, I think Fall Gal and myself are prepared mentally and physically, or at least as prepared as one can be. Excited is definitely the word, for about 3 months now I have pretty much become backpacking. It consumes me, I find myself waking up with thoughts of the next trip (and we have not even done one yet), gear, food, etc. and it goes all day. I have heard others say that backpacking is not something your “kinda into”, backpacking becomes a part of you. Even though I have not spent a single night in my tent (except for that one night in my living room….what?!?! you have to test your gear before you use it!) I feel as if backpacking has already become a part of my life.

If you have any last minute advise speak up now, or its kinda useless LOL!

Packing in 60 seconds

The Fall Gal and I are getting ready for our first overnight this Saturday. If you consider today as being over and the fact that we are heading out at O’Dark 30 on Saturday you could kinda say that it is only 2 days away! Can you tell we are maybe just a little excited?

I wanted to try out a new time lapse app that I got for the iPhone (iTimeLapse) and we thought what better way to pack a bag than Benny Hill style!

Now there is a slight disclaimer here…before any of you get all picky and laugh at some of the stuff we are packing. We are piecing together our gear as our budget permits and we have 2 months still until our Yosemite Trip. That being said, sometimes you just have to improvise!

Now kick your feet up and enjoy the show…but dot get to comfortable, I did say it was only 60 seconds!