Backpacking Test Run to Blue Ridge, Wrightwood, CA, 7 miles RT, 8,116' Max Elevation, 1,404' +/-, September 2, 2018

I had my mind made up about wanting to transition from day hiking to backpacking.  Once I get my mind set on something, I obsess over it until it happens.  After spending a couple of weeks doing research, I felt confident enough to head over to REI and make the investment.  We spent the following day setting up camp in the living room and practicing packing our backpacks.  Sunday morning (also my birthday), we headed out with all our new gear to Wrightwood to hike the Blue Ridge Trail.  The Blue Ridge trail was a perfect trail to get a feel for the new packs with the additional weight we’d be carrying on a backpacking trip.  I picked this trail because it’s well maintained, it’s not too steep and there is no scree which makes it a great place for a worry free trial run.  There’s also a bit of altitude (over 8,000’ at the ridge) and about 1,000’ of gain in two miles.  Both of us carried over 20% of our bodyweight which slowed us down from our normal day hiking pace.  But backpacking, to me, is a different mindset.  It’s not about rushing to bag a peak or hiking to be at a certain place by a certain time.  This is a quote from one of my hiking books that could not sum up how I feel about backpacking any better:

“Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.” - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj  

I believe backpacking is going to take us on exciting new journeys into the wilderness and offer us amazing experiences that will make our lives even richer.  In a few weeks, we’ll be setting up camp for the first time to enjoy our first overnight in the forest.  I’m really excited about all of this and looking forward to many adventures to come!
 

The Blue Ridge Trail was a great starting point to test our new packs and added weight.  The trail is two miles to the top of Blue ridge and offers some altitude as well as about 1,000' of elevation gain.

The Blue Ridge Trail was a great starting point to test our new packs and added weight.  The trail is two miles to the top of Blue ridge and offers some altitude as well as about 1,000' of elevation gain.

The added weight definitely made a difference in our pace, but the packs felt good.

The added weight definitely made a difference in our pace, but the packs felt good.

One mile in.  Not too bad so far.

One mile in.  Not too bad so far.

Beautiful scenery on the Blue Ridge Trail.

Beautiful scenery on the Blue Ridge Trail.

Looking back down the trail.

Looking back down the trail.

Here you can see how the path is nicely buffed out.  A great place to practice without having to worry about scree, and the incline is not too steep.

Here you can see how the path is nicely buffed out.  A great place to practice without having to worry about scree, and the incline is not too steep.

Morning light in the forest.

Morning light in the forest.

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A few more switchbacks and we were on Blue Ridge at the Blue Ridge Campground.

A few more switchbacks and we were on Blue Ridge at the Blue Ridge Campground.

We walked through the campground looking for a spot to possibly practice setting up camp.  There was one open spot, but we decided to save camp set up for our upcoming plans to camp overnight in a few weeks.  This way we could get set up and enjoy!

We walked through the campground looking for a spot to possibly practice setting up camp.  There was one open spot, but we decided to save camp set up for our upcoming plans to camp overnight in a few weeks.  This way we could get set up and enjoy!

Looking over at Mount Baden-Powell.

Looking over at Mount Baden-Powell.

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This was our turnaround point.  

This was our turnaround point.  

We found a nice spot away from the campground to take a break and enjoy some breakfast.

We found a nice spot away from the campground to take a break and enjoy some breakfast.

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On the menu today:  Mountain House Spaghetti with meat sauce.

On the menu today:  Mountain House Spaghetti with meat sauce.

I like when my husband does the cooking.  :)

I like when my husband does the cooking.  :)

Bon Appetit! 

Bon Appetit! 

After a our break and some time relaxing, we headed back down the trail.

After a our break and some time relaxing, we headed back down the trail.

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I think I am going to enjoy this backpacking thing!

I think I am going to enjoy this backpacking thing!