They wandered along, indications for the trail were there but they had to look for them. Broken ferns, a treadway amidst hobblebush, a human-cut log end, a worn root, erosion, the hint of a trail corridor (a.k.a. a space between two trees). All are signs of a trail. It’s a wild area. As Axel Rose belted out: “Welcome to the jungle.” We joke about this, it’s a mixed northern forest, not a jungle at all, it’s just a minimally-developed federally-designated wilderness area. But when you’re sinking in the mud and all the insect life seemingly wants to eat you, and you’re sweaty and tired, sweltering in the heat and humidity, it’s got that jungle vibe going for it [insert monkey screech sound here].
This trip was the women’s-only weekend we announced in a prior post. The trip was sold out, but one member ended up being unable to join in the 11th hour so it was just Redline Guide Arlette Laan and three guests. Like last time they headed out to the Wild River Wilderness. The participants wanted that wilderness experience. And done right, it doesn’t have to feel like roughing it and shouldn’t. It’s called living. Arlette asked if they wanted to forego the river crossing by taking a fire road. No, they wanted the challenge of the crossing. They took it on, fording it at Arlette’s suggestion since it was safer and they all had water shoes, then discovering success and an increased level of confidence on the opposite bank.
They made their way stitching two trails together, and ultimately ended up at a wilderness tent site where they spent the night. They kept it all to their own further enhancing the experience. It felt very remote, extremely quiet and peaceful, only the sound of their breathing and the buzz of insects could be heard. It’s quite the rest after the trek in, the ladies all bearing large packs with all their gear. This is the reward. Of course what happens during these backpacks stays at these backpacks. Vegas rules. But we can imagine the typical chores, then the satisfaction of a meal, clean up, preparing to retire for the evening, spent and satisfied, then the basking in the warmth of friendships as stories flowed. Probable laughter penetrating the darkness.
The following day the ladies ate breakfast then broke camp, ran a visual LNT check, no doubt, and made their way out back the way the came. It was a fun and satisfying trip, and hopefully an educational one. In the last photo they look as good at the end of the trip as they did going in. This means they did it right. Backpacking is not about suffering. Backpacking allows us to thrive in the wild, the basics covered. Please enjoy these photos taken by Arlette of their trip.
Another fine lead, Arlette… and congratulations team! Thanks for backpacking with Redline Guiding.