Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Let the process begin

Camping, or more specifically backpacking is something that I've been doing since I was a kid. Early on it was just carrying my gear in a bag out behind a friends house. Now it's evolved into lots more gear and I'm not sleeping in the woods behind my friends house any more. Instead I'm traveling around to the various trails in the area.

Time constraints with work and two kids have really kept me from doing any long trips even though there are a couple of options in my area. To the south is the Lone Star Hiking Trail. The LST is a 129-mile National Recreation Trail that travels through the Sam Houston National Forrest. For the most part it's flat and sandy. or in other words not very exciting.

To the north is the Ouachita Trail which is ranked third in the long trails for solitude according to this article on Backpacker magazines website.

So how long does a trail have to be to be considered a long trail? Well the Ouachita trail is 223 miles long and stretches from Talihina, OK to Little Rock, AR. Two things that differentiate this trail from the Lone Star trail, 1. It is not flat. 2. You will probably see a couple of rocks on the trail.

So which one do you think I'm going to pick to be my first foray into long distance backpacking. The harder of the two of course. Actually the opportunity just kind of fell into my lap. I was talking with my wife about taking a summer trip to see some family in Alabama. I mentioned going up ahead of her and the kids and spending four or five days on the Appalachian trail.

The thought of driving all the way to Alabama without another driver available didn't appeal to her so she suggested meeting me in Little Rock. I'm not sure where she got little Rock because we've never really discussed details about the Ouachita Trail which if you remember just happens to end in Little Rock. I'm not going to sweat the details though. At this point it was her idea and I'm going to run with it.

That's it for know. I've started thinking about the menu so I can start stockpiling food for 13 days on the trail. You'll find the menu as a work in progress in the links on the right. If you have any suggestions feel free to chime in.

In the meantime here's some video from my trip with my son at the end of 2008. We spent four days in the Ouachita trail area and really had lots of fun.

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