While Packwood Lake was not our first backpacking trip ever, it was the first one that I went by self with the kids. I had taken each of them on one overnight hike with me the year before, however this was the first time I was outnumbered two kids to one parent.
We chose to head up to Packwood Lake as our first backpacking trip of the summer. This is a fairly popular lake with an easy approach of 4.5 miles and 600 elevation gain or 9 miles round trip. This was the first hike that J-Hawk, Rosabell and I did together without anyone else. I had only gone on one other overnight trip with each kid last year.
We arrived at the trailhead at 11 am after 2.5 hours driving from Tacoma. We were all excited to hit the trail for the season. We started out going a little slow as Rosabell had a sunburn on her shoulder and her shoulder strap from her pack was rubbing. However, she didn’t want to give up or have anyone carry her pack, so she pushed on. We took many breaks on this trail, to include stopping and talking to a large group that was headed back out. After about two and a half hours, we arrived at the lake and began looking for campsite. There were so many to choose from. The first one we picked gave us a nice beach and great views of the Goat Rocks range. After setting up our tent, we decided to continue down the trail to see what other sites there were. Five minutes later, we found another great campsite. It was more private with a huge stack of freshly cut wood and a private swimming area. We quickly ran back to our stuff, collapsed the tent, packed up our stuff and made our way to our newly found campsite. We set up camp again and just enjoyed the view.
The kids played in the lake the rest of the evening and only came back to eat dinner. That evening, J-Hawk built a really nice campfire. As it would turn out, this would be the only campfire we would have all summer long as the burn ban went into effect the very next weekend. It was a really nice fire and we sat around the fire talking about our first of many backpacking trips. When the sun finally went down around 9 pm, we put the fire out and headed in to check out our first night in our new three person backpacking tent. We stayed up a few hours more playing scrabble and reading.
Rosabell and I woke up at 5:30 to catch the sun rising. We sat out on a log that was hanging over the lake with a sleeping bag wrapped around us. It was so peaceful and it was so nice spending this special time with my daughter. After the sun came up, we actually went back to the tent and went back to sleep. By 8 we were all awake, again, and made breakfast while we packed up camp. The three of us enjoyed breakfast out on the lake as the sun warmed all of us up. We spent the morning playing in the lake and jumping off logs into the water. After a few hours, we decided it was time to start heading back to civilization. We said goodbye to our nice campsite and started heading back. We were all excited about completing our first backpacking trip of the summer and adding 9 miles to our list of completed trips. The hike back was fairly uneventful but we spent a lot of time talking about how to handle emergency situations. For example, what to do if mom gets hurt or if one of the kids get hurt. It was a great talk that provoked putting together a good emergency plan. I was very proud of my kids for understanding how we would manage emergencies this upcoming summer and how they would help each other in an event that I couldn’t help them.
We arrived back at the car after a few hours and headed home. Great backpacking trip!