This weekend, Jeff and I went on a backpacking trip!
This picture is from three years ago on the first backpacking trip we went on. I had been to Girl Scout camp every year growing up, but I had never truly been in the wilderness. I’m also a bit of a girly-girl and the concept of digging myself a toilet, not showering for three days, and carrying all of my belongings for twenty miles on the side of a mountain just didn’t sound very appealing. However, I persevered in the name of love… and I survived.
We also went backpacking last year on a trip where almost everything that could have gone wrong, did.
But luckily we had Jaime and Nico with us and we avoided total calamity.
So this past Christmas, I was taking a gamble when I bought Jeff a pretty new pack: would we have more successful backpacking trips or more trips that make us witness the wrath of God? We set out this weekend to find out in Gorges State Park on a 16.7-mile loop that Jeff’s uncle had recommended to us.
We set out around 10:00 AM on Saturday for the first leg of our hike, which was supposed to have been about 9.5 miles. We planned to stop for lunch five miles in where the Toxaway River and Lake Jocassee meet at a campground, then continue on another four miles to Bear Gap. However, reality intervened and after driving 3 hours to Atlanta to drop off my dog, Molly, and then three hours to the mountains, neither of us was really feeling a long hike. This was especially solidified when we reached the junction and saw a bunch of boats stopped, people hanging out and swimming in the lake and river, and a really awesome campsite with picnic tables and fire pits, which are usually a rarity out in the wilderness. Luckily, we both brought our suits, so after exploring the area for a bit and setting up camp, we jumped in the cold, refreshing river.
State records for a bunch of different types of fish have been caught in Lake Jocassee, and those critters were NOT afraid to nibble on us while we swam! After we were finished swimming, we headed back to the campsite and fixed up a fire and some dinner. This was pretty exciting for us because we have not once been able to get a fire going in the wilderness, but thanks to my handy-dandy DIY firestarters (cotton balls soaked in vaseline), we had some flames going in no time.
After dinner, Jeff asked if I wanted to go for a walk out to the suspension bridge that crosses over the Toxaway Campsite. We wandered out and stood for a while looking out over the lake.
We were about to head back to camp when Jeff told me he had a surprise for me and that I needed to close my eyes. When he told me to open them, he was down on one knee in front of me! I was completely shocked, and it is a moment I will cherish forever!
We hiked back the same way we came this morning in record time, likely due to all of the excitement of the previous evening. I don’t think it has completely sunk in yet that I’m getting to marry the man of my dreams!
Looks like I’m about to be planning a lot more than just lessons!
If you are interested in checking out Two Gorges Loop backpacking trip, Backpacker has a great write-up of the trip here!