Patrick made a resolution (the New Year’s variety) in 2007 that he was going to do more outdoor activities. I joined him in that resolution, but for much of the year we kept ourselves locked up indoors. In September, we decided to make good on our resolution, and boldly so. We each spent some mad cash on gear for a backpacking trip and started planning the inaugural Good September Trip.
We decided to hike the 4-C trail at Davy Crocket National Forest, which is one of several national forests in central Texas. The trail is approximately 20 miles long and “winds through a diverse forest of towering pines, bottomland hardwoods, boggy sloughs, and upland forests” according to the USDA Forest Service. That means you will only see trees on this trail, with the brief exception of a disgusting swamp. But we needed a pretty tame trail to test the water (and our mettle) in the wonderful world of backpacking. The trail is one-way, so Patrick drove us there, and Mel made the four-hour drive, at the appropriate time, to pick us up at the end of the trail and return us to Patrick’s truck.
We learned a few things from the first ever Good September Trip:
- You should hike 5-10 miles per day, depending on the terrain and your level of fitness. You should not hike 20 miles in less than 24 hours.
- If you can’t carry enough water to keep your fat friend alive, you should hike where there is potable water available. A “boggy slough” is not an example of potable water.
- September is spider season in Texas. 2007 was a particularly big year for spiders. Some spiders don’t bite, some do. Most spiders taste awful. Some spiders build webs that you can tear down easily. Some spiders build webs that you can wear like a blanket after you walk through them. We encountered approximately 10,000 spiders on our trip.
We did almost everything wrong. But it was still fun. We are starting to plan a trip for this September, probably to Arkansas. If you would like to go with us, please let me know and we will count you in.
Vaya con Dios, amigos.