Went on my 1st overnight solo in the Pine Barrens National Preserve in south New Jersey. I decided to hike from Batsto Village to Lower Forge Wilderness Camp.
To add to the degree of difficulty, I chose to hike in at night. There were several lessons learned on this trip:
1. I am too stupid to hike at night. Trail markings, shmail markings.
2. I am too blind to hike at night. I'm blind in one eye and can't see out of the other.
3. I am also too stupid to hike in the daytime. I lost the trail as many times in daylight as I did at night.
4. I am too blind to hike alone in the daytime. I need a seeing-eye dog who can read trail signs.
5. My pack, my boots, and my sleeping bag are too heavy. Gotta trim some weight somewhere. My hamstrings and achilles are very angry with me right now. Near the end of the trip I could not stop to rest because if I did, the legs would have gone on strike.
6. As long as my pack is this heavy, I will never, ever, go more than 10 miles in a day. My original itinerary was 7.5 miles in, 7.5 miles out, but with all the getting lost, I figure I did somewhere between 20 and 30 miles round trip.
7. I will never, ever, forget my compass again. In fact, I will get a GPS chop-chop (something I previously considered only for wimps).
8. I need to learn more about the position of the sun and moon in relation to North-South-East-West. At times I got discombobulated with regards to the direction I was going.
While it may be ignorant, I have hiked my entire life without a compass, GPS, and oftentimes without even a map. It was always part of the adventure to me. The only person I was endangering was myself, since I hiked alone mostly. Now that I am trying to get my son involved in hiking, I realize I need to be a bit more responsible. He would have had a conniption fit if he were with me on this trip. He would not have reacted well.
I learned a lot, had a memorable time, and am looking forward to exploring more of the Pine Barrens. It truly is one of the most unique and beautiful places I have ever seen.
I trimmed the hell out of these videos, but they're still too long. Hopefully, you will enjoy them!