So I took a quick trip up to Mirror Lake State Park last night. Just got back. I left work a little early yesterday so I could pack and head up there (its about an hour away). I got there in time to get some water, make some dinner, and get the my hammock and tarp set up. Woke up this morning, took down my stuff, and went on a quick & easy 4 mile hike.

The trip was sort of a Jeckyll and Hyde experience.

The Bad

It was a disappoint experience for a number of reasons. First, I forgot my camera at home. D'oh!

But the major reason my short trip was disappointing was the location. Its too bad too, because the Park has a decent amount going for it. I had never been to Mirror Lake before and was not expecting the constant drone of highway in the background. The ever-present noise didn't let up the entire trip. I mean, I know its close to rt 90 but I was over a mile away. Even on my hike when I was 2+ miles from the highway I could still hear it. There was no way I could get the feel of being in the wilderness with that constant reminder.

The Good

That being said, there were a few bright spots along the way. Its springtime in Wisconsin and the weather was great. Also, there were plenty of birds including a bunch of woodpeckers to almost make me forget about the drone of the highway. Almost.

Gearwise I also got to try out a bunch of cool new stuff. I have some new figure 9s for my tarp, which made the set-up and take down much simpler. And more enjoyable! I don't think I could ever go back! Very pleased with that purchase.

I also got my first crack at my new AquaSimple Gravity Filter from Arrowhead Equipment. I grabbed a filter from REI with my 20% coupon and was good to go. It worked great! I had never used a gravity filter before and was pleasantly surprised by how fast it worked. Not as fast as a pump water filter (I didn't expected it to be), but it wasn't that much slower either. Plus a lot less effort! I really like the clamp idea too. I got water last night, used some for dinner, replenished my water bottle afterwards, and had more water waiting for me in my bag for a post-breakfast refill this morning. One thing that I might try to add is some sort of cover for the very end of the outlet hose so that it doesn't get in contact with residual untreated water from the rest of the filter when its stored in my pack. I am very pleased with this product. I'll be taking it with me on ALL of my future trips

And last but not least, it was my first experience with my new dutch clips. What can I say? They performed wonderfully! Elegant design, lightweight, and just plain snazzy. I could write more, but I think its about time to wrap this up.

So basically I had a great gear trip with a relatively poor nature trip. C'est la vie!