I loved this story, reminded me of a similar experience over 50 yrs. ago. 65 lbs. on a Camp Trails e-frame pack, for a 1 week AT trip from Amicalola Falls to Unicoi Gap. I hiked a week alright, but came off the trail at Neels Gap, and I felt that I had not only been to the school of hard knocks, but had graduated at the top of my class. Great learning experience. Just keep on keeping on.
The best part of this trip report is:
A lot of folks would make the problems that you had the fault of the outdoors and never go back out. Be proud that you've taken it as an opportunity for learning and growth.Long story short, I was awake listening to the screeching owls and coyotes all night, freezing. I packed up and hit the trail out as soon as i caught light of dawn just so I could get warmed up!
It was the most fun I've had outdoors and can't wait to do it again, but I will be prepared this time with a lighter pack and an underquilt!!
1. Always check the weather. My son just made a post on Facebook: "So, you thought that because it was 80* in December that it would be warm for Spring Break. You're not from Texas, are you?"
2. Know the limitations of your equipment.
3. Know your personal limitations. Some folks would consider 45 pounds an average load (albeit not for an overnight), and that 8 hours for a 10 mile hike is too slow. Be able to estimate the time it takes you to travel a given distance to achieve your purpose. Remember that there are no penalties for reaching a destination early, but getting there late can be dangerous if the terrain is difficult or the trail hard to follow in the dark. I personally would have allowed for that 8 hours for 10 miles for a leisurely walk in the woods to sleep overnight. But I could also allow for 12-15 miles in that same time span if getting there at a given time is important---but that's about my limit today. Forty years ago, I could and did do 20 miles in a day. I also walked to and from school in the winter and it was uphill---both ways.
4. Know the conditions at the trailhead, trail, and destination. When I was your age, that was a more difficult thing to do. Today there are many resources on the web (like this one) where folks can exchange sometimes critical information. A good one for our part of Texas is the Lonestar Hiking Trail Yahoo Group:
If the folks there don't have the answer for the particular trail you're going on, they will be able to pont you in the right drection.
I do want to caution you on the lesson you may have learned about water, as it may be the wrong one. In other parts of the country, hydration is not as important as it is in the hot humid climate we find around here. Most of the areas within 75 miles of Houston should be considered sub-tropical if not tropical between May1 and September 30. We will tend to perspire much, much more than in, for instance, Wisconsin. The humidity slows evaporation of perspiration (I'm a poet and don't know it), consequently, your body sweats even more. You should allow for an intake of a minimum of one gallon of water per day just to keep up with the water your body will be losing. You should also allow for a slower pace during those months to avod overheating, and for more breaks for drinks and moist snacks. Heat prostration is difficult to treat in the woods, near impossible to treat yourself, and is most dangerous when you're alone as it affects decision making abilities. Its the frostbite of the South. You should carry a LOT of water AND some means of filtration or sterilization. Allow for the possibility that you might be injured and unable to get to a source of water at least overnight. I'd have carried two and a half gallons on that trip if it were June and did not know of any reliable water sources on the route. It gets lighter along the way. In fact, the weight might encourage you to drink more, which is a good thing.
One other bit of advice on water, but its a personal one.
I carry several 8-10 oz bottles of water and do not rely on sucking it from a bladder. I carry the bladder as water storage. I find its better to be able to get a good full mouthful of water without any effort.
Great trip report! I'm glad that you took the lessons to heart rather than being disappointed with the great outdoors.
Hiking (and biking) year-round down here in FL, you come to learn the importance of hydration. My assumption is that I go through a liter to a liter and a quarter per hour while moving, and about a half-liter per hour sitting still from April to October. I plan my water carrying capacity around the idea that it will take me 20% more time between water stops than my average walking speed; that way, I don't run out unexpectedly.
The only part where I disagree with sargevining is in the use of a water bladder. On the other hand, I came to this camping stuff from riding a bike, so having easy, hands-free access to my water was important initially. It's what I'm used to.
YMMV on this, but I prefer to use a bladder while moving and drink from a cup (usually my heinie pot) or water bottle during stops. Just an opinion.
I'll admit to keeping the hose on the bladder and the bite valve hooked to the pack strap. If I do feel the need for a quick sip and don't want to stop walking to do it, t will use that. But I also use a sling bag to carry water bottles in so that they areright at hand when I need them. Just got a Ribzpack and am wating to see how that worksfor that application.