First backpacking trip….and lessons learned


BUCKS SUMMIT TO THREE LAKES = 11-12 miles (1-way) depending of which signs or GPS used.


Honestly this trip was WAY too much for as I did not train (this was couch to 12miles) nor did I have any idea of what I was doing but I always wanted to cross backpacking off my bucket list and my husband knows what he is doing, so I tagged along. The first 4 miles were uphill and we ascended 1800 feet. Even the first 2 miles I felt like I was adjusting my pack here and there to get an idea of what was comfortable with me load which by the way was too much for me. I’ve hiked a lot before but not with almost 27lbs on my back. Thanks goodness Deuter makes their packs so the hydration bladder can go on the outside of the main compartment as my sleeping bag did not fit in the “sleeping bag compartment” even compressed down. I have a Deuter Futura 34L for women. (try for deals on gear)

I have to say – backpacking is exhausting. I liked the adventure but wow, exhausting! I weigh 122lbs so 25lbs is 20% of my body weight so I thought I was right on target for my first trip but I was WAY UNDER PREPARED for training for this. My back and hips and even shoulders hurt at the end of the day and around mile 6, old soccer injuries started to bug me. The weight made it worse.  I know understand why lighter gear is so expensive and worth it! My brother told me that in the military they say, “ounces equals pounds, pounds equal pain.” And it’s so true. Everything adds up quickly. Here’s what I learned:

  1. LESS is best!! We didn’t over pack…..well expect water as the drought in California was a concern and my goodness that was heavy but I would consider lighter gear: sleeping bag, pad, tent. The hubby carried most of this while I carried water, the kitchen, my sleeping bag, first aid kit and some lightweight shirts, flips flops, and our jackets.
  2. I have a 34L pack and don’t know if I would get a larger backpack or just one with better padding as with my pack completely full, I was dying from the weight. But I did have 6 liters on water in my pack before the hubby helped out and carried 1.5L. My knee was hurting on that side.wpid-photogrid_1439499879426.jpg
  3. Flips flops were key when we got to camp – I was so thankful for my Wal-mart $0.99 flip flops
  4. I should have brought more freeze dried food. Luckily we had enough but they hit the spot when you are exhausted. I recommend Mountainhouse pasta primavera. It’s like a cheddar cheese soup with spiral noodles, zuchini, red and yellow peppers, broccoli and more. SO good!!

Things I’m SO GLAD I brought:

  1. My sleeping pad – is heavy (2 lbs. 10 oz.) for backpacking so it’s a catch 22 when I complain about weight but man, do I sleep well on this pad. REI now makes the same pad at 1/2 the weight. It’s only 20″ but the long version is the same length as the Incamp. The new pad is the REI Cirrus Insulated Air Sleeping Pad. Anyhow, I would be willing to find a lighter one….I’m a side sleeper so I need some cush under the hips.
  2. Flip flops – it was so nice to just chill at camp with these.
  3. Collapsible mugs – Sea to Summit X-mug. Perfectly fine as a mug or a bowl.wpid-photogrid_1439499798435-1.jpg
  4. Convertible pants – I wear Prana Monarch. I love these for travel as well.
  5. Nike Dri-Fit short sleeve shirt – Get them at Kohl’s and use coupons. :-)
  6. Wright socks = no blisters
  7. Trekking Poles – I just have some Black Diamond ones that I received as a gift. They are on the budget but hey, they work and I like’em.
  8. Nuun tablets – Strawberry Lemonade was delicious!
  9. Spork – Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork
  10. Instant starbucks coffee – mixed with hot coco is an nice mocha in the morning.wpid-wp-1439500939567.jpeg
  11. Panty liners – as a women it’s nice to change this out at the end of the day and keep your panties fresh.
    Sorry guys – TMI

Things I wish I brought – but optional:

  1. A book – I did find out that my kindle app on my phone in airplane mode will pull up the last book I was reading. Score! :-)
  2. Some sort of game to play – After a cat nap, we felt refreshed and wanted to do something but conserve energy.

If anyone else has any suggestions,
I would love you for you to leave a comment below!!

Small House Living & Why I Like it!

Because it’s Eeeeeeeeeasy! Our house is around 1,000 sq. ft. (3 bedrooms, 2 bath). When I tell people that our house is around 1,000 sq ft which is smaller some of friend’s apartments, they would be astonished that the floor plan could even have a third bedroom. But it works. And yes , there are times like ANYONE you wish there was just little more space here and there but in the end, living on the smaller side of life has taught me so much about what I want out of life and how much easier it is to get it than what the American dream dictates.

Here are some of the things I love about living small:

  1. Our house is easy to clean!!
  2. It doesn’t cost that much to furnish
    1. Heck, it doesn’t cost a lot to OWN my invest of property
  3. I save money on mortgage, utilities, other expenses for a home, etc.
  4. My house is very organized
    1. I read somewhere the motto of “Don’t put it down, put it away.” And this alone has helped me stay more organized; even when I’m tired and just want to put it down, LOL :-)
  5. I really keep mainly what I need but I do have some fun stuff for hobbies/crafts and camping gear in a shed
  6. I have more space due to so much downsizing
  7. Whatever I need is at my fingertips
  8. Searching the house for something lost is short and sweet
  9. It doesn’t take much to spruce it up
  10. Renovations are MUCH cheaper with a larger impact

The best thing that was ever said to me by a dear friend who has great style, no matter where she lived:

“You can have a lot of great things, but it does mean you have all your great things all out at once.”

And living in a smaller home has taught me this precise statement. With a larger space, we tend to fill it just like when we get a larger income, we tend to spend more; even when we don’t mean to. I don’t save China for special occasions = I use what I have every day and if I haven’t used it in 6 months to MAYBE 1 year, I consider donating it. Passing it onto to someone else that may have more joy with it than what I do.

What do you do, to live with less in order to have more enjoyment out of life? Would <3 to hear from you :-)


Birthday Beer Cake

Finished Beer Cake

Finished Beer Cake


Sometimes just giving what someone wants can be dull, so I got creative in giving Beer to my hubby. He really enjoys Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and just relaxing at home when he has time off from work. Also, I was not going to be there when he arrived home so this was the perfect decoration/gift for him to be surprised with. Continue reading

Halloween Wreath

Halloween Wreath Collage 2

Halloween Wreath Collage 2This project is UNDER $20 and UNDER 20 minutes to make.

We really wanted to have more Halloween decorations and not spend a lot of $$ on them either so I thought making a Halloween Wreath would be fun, easy and cheap….not to mention easy “set-up and take-down” for the holidays. :-D This was my first time making a ribbon mesh wreath and I did this for under well under $20!! Continue reading