Happy September! Here begins my favorite time of the year: scarves, hot tea, board games, and homemade soups. Too bad it’s still coasting at 90 degrees.
For the past year (at least) Jake and I have been talking about doing a backpacking trip somewhere in Montana. We didn’t want it to be too many days or just an overnight trip, nor to be too hot outside. So this weekend was the perfect time!
Read on to hear about some fun things that happened on the trip or scroll down to view my list of the foods we ate and everything we packed!
We headed up to the Anaconda Pintlers for a three day, two night backpacking trip; just the two of us. As we approached the trailhead, we were the only car in the lot. This made us super pumped as we were looking to just have a nice weekend away together. Each of us had just one pack filled with only the necessary items we would need to survive in the Anaconda wilderness – as well as the Settlers of Catan card game (I removed all the extra player cards to lighten our load).
About one and a half miles in a big gust of wind blew through and all of a sudden we heard what sounded like an old man trying to burp while gurgling… think about that for a second. I don’t think it was an old man. This stopped us dead in our tracks – Jake’s hand on the bear spray, my hand reaching for my knife. Then we heard another “old man” further behind us. We are pretty sure this was a certain type of hairy, clawed old man… THEN, if that weren’t enough, the breeze got bigger and it sounded as if the trees were now Ents roaming about the woods! The trees were so dense, we could not see anything, but walked slowly – and intensely – past the strange noises and continued our trek.
We gained 1, 670 feet in elevation in about 4-5 miles up to Warren pass. Then practically floated down another 2-3 miles and landed a super sweet camp spot just beach side of Carpp Lake. After brushing away some rocks and dead pine leaves, I made a flat surface for our tent. There was already an awesome fire pit, plenty of logs for firewood chopping, and some great sittin’ rocks. After establishing our campsite, we explored for a “bathroom” area and found a large three sided boulder “room” good for digging holes We then picked a rocky spot next to the lake to cook dinner and hang our packs for the night. We were in bed pretty early.
Day two consisted of just 4-5 miles, all uphill! Just a few weekends ago, a group of us did the Grizzly Medicine Lake trail in Glacier National Park. That was a 14 mile round trip hike that we completed in just 6 hours. So, to say we only did 4-5 miles on day two may sound pretty weak, but keep in mind the following: the previous day we hiked nearly 1700 ft up in about 7 miles, we had an extra 30-40 lbs strapped to our backs for three straight days, the whole day was uphill.
Our destination was Tamarack Lake and we booked it to another sweet lake side camp site with an already established fire pit and some great “couch logs” – quite cozy. Since we were now professional backpackers after one and a half days on the trail, we unloaded all our gear, set up camp, and took a much needed nap! If was I slightly more rebellious, you better believe I would have killed a fly to create a makeshift fly rod to put in that lake. There were SO many fish popping up. Next time, I will bring my fly box no matter where we hike to – just in case.
Day three: our calves were pulsing and standing first thing in the morning was quite difficult. We were both sore, but it felt so good. After breakfast, we packed up and headed out. Whenever I am on the trip back from either a couple mile hike, fourteen mile hike, or overnight trip, I tend to seriously truck it back to the trailhead. Sometimes I even get so excited that we’re on the way back, a throw in a couple seconds here and there of running on the trail. I know it’s crazy, but it’s so true. Jake even had to lead multiple times this day because I was just going too dang fast. Also, I don’t run because I’m excited to be out of the woods, I run because I’m so excited from the fun that we have had and the fun that we will have after the fact.We took one stop for a water fill up and made it back to our car from Tamarack Lake in just three and a half hours. Pretty sure that was a record for that stretch of land.
The best part about ending a long hike (or many days of hiking) is getting back to your car, taking off your sweat soaked t’shirt and big, heavy hiking boots and throwing on an old pair of TOMS shoes. Next best thing, hitting up the first available gas station for a coca cola from the fountain machine and some classic lays potato chips. What a great weekend!
FOOD WILL HELP YOU LIVE! With Marla’s recent visit to Missoula (finally), she left paleo thoughts on my mind while creating our meal plans for the trip. not everything is paleo friendly, but I think she’d be proud as to how much actually is
Friday Breakfast: everything bagel w/ cream cheese, bacon, red onion and scrambled eggs, Tipus Chai tea
Friday Lunch: 1/2 Reuben from The Good Food Store‘s deli and half a small bag of sea salt kettle chips (breakfast was quite filling)
Friday Dinner: Jasmine rice mixed with Campbell’s Coconut Curry Soup with chicken and shittake mushrooms, few pieces of jerky, 1 twizzler each, dark chocolate, and 1/2 Turkey/Bacon/Avocado sandwich from The GFS (we bought two sandwiches for lunch that morning before we left, thinking we’d both eat one at lunch. Since we weren’t that hungry then, we were Super hungry for dinner – but had plenty of food)
Saturday Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal w/ cinnamon sugar, banana chips, dehydrated apple slices, and scoop of almond butter, Jake had some coffee, I had hot tea
Saturday Lunch: Flour tortilla filled with almond butter, chocolate hazelnut butter, banana chips/dehydrated apple slices and an assortment of snacks including: jerky (original & teriyaki), salted rice crackers, twizzlers
Saturday Dinner: Mountain House Pasta Primavera with an addition of a can of chicken (this was DELICIOUS! – in a pinch, I could eat that package dry. It was Much better after sitting in boiling water, like the directions say, but seriously super good). We kept our bear vault around and ate a few snacks a bit later around our camp fire – after playing some card games on our rock table we made.
Sunday Breakfast: Coffee (J), Tea (A), Mountain House Breakfast Skillet pouch served in flour tortillas – again, DELICIOUS! If you know Jake and I at all, you know that we LOVE food – and not just fast food or microwavable meals, but we love delicious foods. If you’re looking for some yummy pre-made backpacking meals, I highly suggest Mountain House’s meals. So far, we’re impressed.
Sunday Lunch: Last of the jerky, 1/2 Sierra Trail Mix Clif Bar
Sunday Dinner: @ Tamarack Brewing Company in Missoula (paid for by a sweet gift card) after applying mole skins to our blisters and cleaning our bodies! Success!!
The things we packed: Here’s a list of everything we packed. As far as clothes go, we brought the sames things, but I list those as if for one person.
- Two Osprey backpacking packs
- 3 person Marmot Limelight tent
- 2 zero degree sleeping bags (mine is synthetic down material due to allergies, but I’m a warm sleeper so it does the trick
- 2 headlamps
- 1 topographic map of the Anaconda pintlers
- Primus ETA Power camp stove (includes lighter and pot w/ lid)
- 1 small canister of fuel
- 1 – 48 oz plastic water bottle
- 1 – 3 liter water bladder w/ straw mechanism
- 2 Sporknifes
- 2 Therm-a-rest sleeping pads
- 1 camp pillow – folds up nice and small
- 2 water purifiers – It’s a good idea to have an extra, just in case your main purifier breaks
- 2 plastic cups from the REI Nesting Tableware Set – We didn’t need any other plates/bowls because we both just ate out of the stove’s pot for our one pot meals
- 2 pairs of sunglasses
- 2 rain shells (both were from REI and fold up into their own stuff sacks)
- 4 trekking poles (2 each) – these can double as a splint or makeshift crutch in case of an emergency
- bear spray and holster
- 1 camp knife and holster
- 1 50ft rope
- 1 hatchet (mainly for fire wood chopping)
- 1 hand shovel (for digging before you squat… And many other uses)
- a wee bit of fire starter and small box of matches tightly secured in a sip lock baggie
- camp soap
- body towel
- kitchen cleaning towel
- bear vault (see link above)
- Food (kept in the bear vault – see above for details)
- iPhone – kept on airplane mode for 3 days, my iphone only dropped to 79% battery to be remaining and plenty of picture taking room
- 1 card deck/Settlers of Catan’s Struggle for Catan card game (see link above)
- small bug spray
- sun screen for Jake’s paste-y skin
- 2 toothbrushes
- 1 small tube Tom’s of Main tooth paste
- 2 travel size deodorants
- contact case and travel size solution (glasses & case for emergency)
- albuteral inhaler
- small plastic container of aleve and ibuprofen
- 1 stick Burt’s Bees chapstick
- 1 roll toilet paper
- hand sanitizer
- compact mirror
- first aid kit included: 6 mole skin bandages, butterfly bandages, normal bandages, rubber tourniquet, safety pins, needle, 2 extra buttons (floss would double as thread), triple antibiotic, neosporin, tiny scissors, tweezers, 2 alcohol swabs
- 2 bandanas
- change of underwear for each day
- 1 extra t’shirt
- 1 pair long underwear (top and bottom – doubled as pj’s in the night)
- 2 pair wool socks
- 1 fleece sweater
- 1 scarf
- 1 pair mittens
- 1 fleece headband (I am not a hat wear-er, so this worked out well)
- 1 pair old TOMS shoes (to wear at the camp site)
- 1 pair hefty hiking boots
- 1 tank top and sports bra (started off the trip with these)
- 1 pair outdoor zip off pants (zip off to be capris, pants, or shorts!)
So there it is! Everything we needed to survive for 3 days in the wilderness.
What types of foods do you like to eat while backpacking? What is your favorite gear to bring along on your backpacking trips? Where is your favorite place to backpack?