backpack, backpack

My two-year wedding anniversary is next month. Last year, my husband and I went backpacking to celebrate. We always invite friends to tag along. This past year Ally and my Dad joined us for the fun. This year we decided to make it a tradition.

Happy 1-Year
I've heard it all before from reluctant first-timers “Where will I use the bathroom” and “a bear will eat me”. Let's get real - backpacking is amazing and it's cheap. And more than likely it will be one of the best experiences of your life, especially if you have little ones. Childhood camping trips are my most cherished memories.
I can't remember what we were doing here... morning workout?

I am a quality over quantity kind of person, so I like to keep my trips short when I am with new hikers – two night max. Here are some ideas on how you can plan your next trip:

Gearing Up:
I highly recommend becoming an REI member. It's $20 for a lifetime membership, it is not a credit card, includes 10% cash back on all purchases and you get amazing coupons.You can also rent equipment from REI if you are not ready for investing.

You can also check out the REI scratch and dent sale. These sales are held in the storage area of the store and include returned merchandise, merchandise from photo shoots and all kinds of other treasures for next to nothing. This is where I scored my sleeping pad ($10) and my road bike (still too much to admit).

If going to a store doesn't fit your schedule, has been a great resource for a lot of our gear, including the Big Agnes tent I got my hubby for his birthday.

Callie's Backpacking Checklist:
  • backpacking pack(have someone fit you properly)
  • warm clothes (including gloves, hat, etc)
  • a change of warm clothes including socks
  • sleeping bag
  • tent
  • sleeping pad
  • cookware
  • stove
  • utensils
  • cups
  • toilet paper
  • lighter
  • kindle
  • camera
  • water bottle
  • hand warmers
  • hiking boots
  • hiking socks
  • headlight or flashlight
  • axe
  • compass (blog post on how these things work to come. It's harder than I thought)
Learning to use a compass

Meal Plan:
Just like any vacation, your meals can make or break the trip. I have a go-to list of groceries I always bring, but you really have tons of options. After all, everything does taste better on the trail.

Snacks for the trail
  • trail mix
  • dried fruit
  • fresh fruit
  • jakes nut butter packets
  • water, water, water

On the Trail Dinner Recipe
  • sausages
  • buns
  • sauerkraut
  • ketchup & mustard packets
  • red wine
roast the weenies over the fire, adorn, pour the wine and thank God for all He created

  • marshmallows
  • dark chocolate
  • graham crackers
i think you know what to do here

Mountain Man Breakfast Recipe
  • bagels
  • spray butter
  • country ham
  • muenster cheese
  • instant coffee
spray the bagel with butter, toast on the stove, place ham on bagel with cheese and press until melted

Where to go:
A few of our favorite spots in N.C. are Siler Bald, Stratton Bald, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forrest and Tsali Trails. Check out stay and play in the smokies for more places to camp. This year I am excited to bring our new puppy Siler.
Enjoying our wine at sunset

Where have you camped? Let us know where we should go next!

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