Hiking Wildcat Mountain
by, 10-18-2010 at 22:54 (724 Views)
This weekend's excursion to Wildcat Mountain State Park only reaffirmed my decision to hike the Appalachian Trail next summer.
After an extremely long week of writing papers, analyzing indifference curves, computing marginal rates of substitution and putting in a stressful 20 hours at Trane, I really needed a break.
Jake and I set off late Friday afternoon to the park, hopeful of getting in a couple of miles before it got dark. We arrived early enough to hit up the Old Settler's Trail, roughly 2.5 miles. This initial hike was a huge indicator as to how I would like backpacking and I was anxious to get on the trail. It turned out to be a fantastic start to the weekend and I really enjoyed the atmosphere.
We then set up our tent, the Tarptent Squall 2, in just under two minutes. The tent itself only weights 34 ounces or just over two lbs. This is one the lightest tents on the market and is ideal for our goal of "Going Lite." We then made our dinner, which for a trail meal, wasn't that bad. It was a Knorr (lipton) side that consisted of noodles, herb & garlic seasoning and two full servings of vegetables. Complimented with two bottles of Merlot wine, a roaring campfire and a meandering conversation, it was the perfect evening.
Saturday we woke up, made four servings of oatmeal, packed up our site and left no visible trace of our existence- an unspoken rule of trail hiking. We traversed roughly 15 miles, covering the majority of the park's trails. Though some of the hiking was on "trails," a good portion of our hike was on horse trails. This was alright but not ideal for what we would be doing. Furthermore, horses tend to ****... a lot. Besides these minor grievances, we trekked through and saw some gorgeous sights. Sometime in the afternoon we stopped on a grassy knoll, took off our shoes and socks and just relaxed. I pulled out my novel (neither here nor there by Bill Bryson) but soon found myself laying in the sun, using my pack as a pillow. A little bit later we decided to eat lunch and enjoyed our pitas with dried hummus and summer sausage (surprisingly really tasty).
After our long day of hiking we ventured into town for the sole purpose of cold beer. We settled for New Glarus - Staghorn Octoberfest and Summit's Extra Pale Ale. Dinner was three cheese macaroni shells with garlic herb tuna! I'd definitely eat that again. Following dinner was another evening of a campfire, good beer and stimulating conversation.