Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tea Creek Back-packing Trip

This trip ended up being all Outdoor Pursuits Staff, we left Hocking College at about 10:30 and had a long drive to Monongahela National Forest. We arrived refreshed from napping and ready to hit the trail. As we loaded our packs on our backs we realized that we might have packed too much. The trailer was closed up and we were ready to hit the trail at about 5 pm. The trail began with a nice man-made bridge across the creek and we were excited at how beautiful it was. The first day was definitely the hardest because it was all up hill. We had to take frequent breaks and wait for people to catch up because we had some first time hikers. The trail was along a steep cliff and it was not fun almost getting knocked off by the three dogs running back and forth at our feet! The trail was also very muddy and wet so it was nice to have water-proof boots, and for those who didn’t that stinks. We had a little trouble finding a place to camp the first night, but finally ended up on the top of a ridge among some trees. We set up our tents and then headed to the cooking area to get some warm food in us. It was very cold with the wind blowing and the rain. We did not have a camp fire the first night and by the time we had all prepared our meals it was starting to get dark. We had to set up our bear lines in the dark and the rain! We had a little trouble getting them up and it was close to ten by the time we all hit the hay. It stormed all through the night and the lightning came quite close a few times. It was freezing cold the next morning and we decided to get our tents packed up and move off the ridge before we made breakfast. We stopped about an hour later to make some breakfast of hot chocolate, oranges, and oatmeal. We all put our rain gear, gloves, and hats on as we started our hike on Saturday morning. It rained on and off throughout most of the morning. The trail was beautiful hiking through open meadows and then walking with trees on either side of you so thick you couldn’t see even 10 feet! We walked through water all day and ran into some boy scouts hiking the same trail. We ended up making it to camp by about 2 o’clock and there was a nice wooden shelter with a fire pit. We all took our tents out and let them dry out and started a fire. The sun came out as we were setting up camp and it was nice to feel a bit warmer. We set up our sleeping bags in the shelter and ate some snack stuff for lunch. We refilled our water bottles and went out exploring for a bit and some of us took a nap. We hung our bear lines early so we didn’t have to do it in the dark. We hung our clothes around the camp fire to dry them out and burnt a few socks!! We had an earlier dinner and had brownies for dessert! We all sat and talked around the campfire for awhile and we one by one headed to bed. It got very cold that night and we were all huddled together under our sleeping bags. We got up early the next morning and had a quick breakfast before we hit the trail again. It rained a little bit on Sunday and we had our rain and wind gear on. We had to cross the creek quite a few times and everyone got wet somehow! Boomer (Zach’s dog) was the only one of us who was scared to cross! Some of us ended up with bruises and scraps from our encounter with the BEARS!!! Just kidding, but we had trees fall on us (I’m being serious on this one)! Mark, T.J. and Zach did end up seeing a bear cub and the dogs scared it off. We were all looking forward to getting back to the trailer and getting into dry clothes and shoes. Overall the trip was amazing and full of fun times and laughter. We stopped at Shoney’s on the way home and stuffed our faces with the Mother’s Day Buffet! We got back to Hocking at about 7 pm and unloaded our wet and muddy backpacks. Thanks for the fun times and the learning experiences!

Written By: Jessica Willbur June 3, 2008

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