View Full Version : How to turn an easy 1st hike into a tough situation

06-28-2009, 23:58
So tired . I was asleep almost as soon as I hit the bed. I made some miatakes concerning doing a first hike. I almost turned Taylor against it hiking. The map says the hike is 8 miles each way. Turns out It was 9 miles each way, and that was from the Bluestone State Park (West Virginia) boundry to the Pipestem. Who knows how far it was from where we parked to the beginning the river trail. If the average hiker moves at 3 miles per hour......It took us over 4 hours on the return portion. Oh well. THE GOOD STUFF. Saw a bobcat, 8 trout 20-25" swimming in a school, bear track, huge racoon, deer. Box turtle, and frogs. MORE BAD STUFF The mud sucked my shoes off and my footies were caked with mud. Ended up doing the last 14 miles with little protection for my feet. I put my shoes back on but no footies. My feet are all tore up from the rocks and sand rubbing my feet. We didn't bring enough food and we didn't bring the right food, at least as far as taylors palate was concerned. I thought aloud to my son, ok no big deal. We'll just get us a big plate of spagheti with parmeshan and grilled chicken breast when we get to Pipestem. He could take an hour long nap in the living room area. Course they have three lodges and we were at a secondary lodge so they had no living area and the restraunt was closed except for the 5 star restraunt. So taylor sat down and cried for a bit, ate the jerkey that we had (for those of you that have not read any of my posts, he is AD/HD and a high functioning autistic). I had 2 of those kits that has the chicken, relish, mayo and crackers. He didn't want one. I was so upset. No one to blame but myself. We started back to Bluestone. Taylor got his second wind and all was well for about 4 miles. Then he slowly started to die again. Big mistake we made, in addition to the other mistakes. On the way to Pipestem we took out our little nylon bags that I had brought along for and started to pick up some trash, which is something every good hiker does. Well the river floods and all the trash washes down out of the mountains. It got to be a real chore. I had a cooler that I found. I put about 30 pounds of beer can and the like inside. Taylor had the nylon bags full of garbage. The plan was to start picking stuff up at about the half way point, dump it in pipestem. On the return trip, we would start picking stuff up at the halfway point and dump it when we got to bluestone. But as I said earlier, this was longer than the 8 miles as given on the national geographic map. I told the ranger what we had done when we arrived back at bluestone. He, right then, went on-line and made taylor up a neat little certificate. I'm going to call the guys supervisor tomorow and let him know about his fine employee. Taylor was ready to drop but he lit up like a candle when the ranger gave him that. THINGS I LEARNED. 1. Don't trust a map as the sole source of information. Call ahead. 2. Bring a stove. Lord, a pepsi can stove wouldve been fantastic. Some ramen noodles and a bit of canned chicken wouldve helped both of us out. 3. We only had fanny packs, but I easily couldve carried a nylon 10 x 12 tarp. We couldve pitched somewhere in the soft earth and slept as long as we wanted. No need for a matress if I had a bed of leaves. Besides, I was in no rush to get home. 4. I shouldve had high top tennis shoes or light weight hiking boots. This way the mud would not have pulled them off. 5. My wife seems to think my phone wouldve taken pictures almost as good as the 10 mega pixel camera. In the never ending quest to lighten weight and lesson bulk, this might help. I'm going to compare quality later. 6. Leave the watch at home. Looking at my watch did nothing to lesson the stress or make us get to the car any faster. I found myself looking at it every 10 min. 7. I shouldve had moleskin. Two patches wouldve been sufficient. Wouldve kept my feet from going to hamburger. 8. I know water is heavy, just didn't know it would be that heavy. I'm going to have to find an alternative. All that water in the river and flowing out of the hills and I'm afraid to drink it. I like water so I think I'd have a hard time using iodine tablets. One other thing concerning the water; the stuff rolling out of the hills at a 2-5 gallons per minute was cold and very tempting. Ran out of water with about three miles to go and it sure did.........never mind. I could go on and on about the water. 9. I know a fanny pack is a bit on the small side, but I think we can go light weight and have all that we need for a long day hike, including the tarp. One question though. The fanny pack seems as though it jiggles quite a bit, especially with water. Also seems as though I couldn't get it tight enough without making myself a 28 inch waste. Would a small backpack of 2,000-2,500 aleviate this situation? I guess that is about it. Taylor and I both had a great time for the most part. We saw a ton of wildlife and we now have a mission. I'm going to try and get enough people together to do a yearly hike/cleanup along the bluestone river (West Virginia). Get back to me if you are interested. I'll be making a post on this site later looking for help. I'm going to call the ranger tomorow. Bluestone trail is nice. It is fairly pretty with an abundance of wildlife. Easy access to the river with lots of largemouth, smallmouth, trout, and rock fish. No over night camping allowed, but with the parks 9 miles apart (or whatever) its no big deal.
Old timers know the stuff from this post, but I hope it helps a new guy. One last thing. Taylor told me late last night that he thinks he will want to go hiking again. Although I wouldn't force him, I think he'll be ready to go in a couple of weeks. This time we'll do a shorter hike with the necessities, like a tarp and a stove. Probabley hit the new river bridge area. I also bought a new Silva orienteering compass. He thought that was really cool. He was messing with that thing when he couldn't hardly stay awake in the car. I bought a book written by renowned canoeist Cliff Jacobson. Thought I might get into it and learn how to use my new Silva. Then I could teach Taylor. But not anymore. There is a shop close to the bridge that I believe for a fee would be willing to teach us both how to read. That would give me an excuse to buy him his own compass. I know, I know. Going lightweight, you only need one compass. I say "Anything to keep the kid interested". RIGHT? Right. Kid is a tiger.

06-29-2009, 00:10
live in charleston . just did a 20 mile overnite at burnsville lake to stonewall jackson lake.sounds like you had an adventure..

06-29-2009, 13:52
Holy wall of text. Paragraphs are your friend.

06-29-2009, 14:07
Wow sounds like you had an interesting go of it. I take it by "the kid is a tiger" you mean tiger scout. That's a lot of hoofing for a tiger. I've seen Webelos tap out on shorter hikes you have a real trooper there don't push him too hard or he might loose interest.

06-29-2009, 14:24
Hey, at least you learned. Best way to learn is to learn what sucks and go from there.

I would definitely get a small day pack. Fanny packs are nice for a wallet and keys, but in my experience, useless for much else. You can get some fairly inexpensive day packs at REI and the like. Mine is usually near empty on day hikes, but it's nice to have it on my back not getting in the way.

SteriPen is my favorite water solution. It doesn't change the taste of the water at all and is as light as most of the filters/pumps out there. Plus, it's near instant and doesn't require any backflushing when you're really thirsty.

Glad your boy isn't closed to hiking in the future. I bet he views it as a challenge to be conquered. Good for you guys!

06-29-2009, 15:09
There is no teacher like experience, although you could have avoided nearly all of your "pain" with a little WB research before you ventured out. Sounds like you learned:

1) Stove - nothing like hot food on the trail, especially at the end of the day. Decide on one that fits your budget and likes.
2) Water treatment solution - Can't carry all the water you need for more than a day at most. Steripen is my choice here (search WB for more info than you'll want to read here).
3) Proper foot care - moleskin and/or duct tape is a must to never be without.
4) Right food - with a stove cooking for little children is a snap. They love macaroni & cheese (remove from box and put in ziplocs) and you can dice that up with some foil packets of tuna or chicken. Their favorite cereal and powdered milk (ain't bad when cold and in cereal) is a hit for breakfast. For a hot breakfast, try flavored oatmeal. Target's (store) "Monster Trail Mix" is awesome for snacking and dessert. That and Monterrey Jack cheese (keeps well in heat) and maybe a little summer sausage on a hoggie roll is sure to please for lunch.

Now that you have the first one behind you, and you learned that planning and preparation make a world of difference, you should be able to avoid most of the bad that you all experienced and have a lot of real fun on the next one! :)

mister krabs
06-29-2009, 15:31
Good on ya for getting the boy out there, and it sounds like you made some good memories. It seems that the stories that everyone wants to hear and that get told over and over are about how you overcame an obstacle, or how messed up things were that one time but came out all good in the end....

I think you're wise to bring emergency shelter, food and a stove. For emergency use, give the potable aqua (iodine) with pa+ (ascorbic acid) a try. It's only 5$ or so at walmart. I was skeptical too found it to have almost no perceptible taste, maybe a slight vitamin c tang. It's cheap and light.

For emergency food, a couple extra snickers or granola bars can be priceless.

06-29-2009, 19:29
Hey the only way to learn is get out there and do it. I won't say what I brought on my first hike out. And I didn't even make it two miles before I gave up.

Hoop Time
06-29-2009, 20:27
Thanks for the account. Some stuff there for me to think about when I take Cookie Monster for longer, more challenging hikes.

06-30-2009, 09:04
Just an FYI, that area you hiked is being seriously considered for inclusion in Great Eastern Trail (http://get.chattablogs.com/archives/2009/01/) - contact listed there if you have any interest in helping out.

06-30-2009, 10:44
It's good that you are getting your son into the outdoors! That was a really long day hike for a first time hike. I've taken friends and family on day hikes before and find that it's best to keep the mileage low initially.