Eagle Cap Wilderness Here we Come!

Wendy and I have decided on our 2021 backpacking trip! Last year, we did two nights and three days on Mt Hood at Lower Twin lake via the Barlow trail approach. We covered a total of about sixteen miles (with a day hike on day 2) and gained about 2,000 or so feet in elevation during the trip. It was Wendy’s first backpacking trip and my first in twenty years, so we decided on a gentle route fairly close to civilization.

Wendy and Amber on trail last year!

This year we are fitter, faster and ready for a bit more adventure. In September we will be tackling a 3 night, 4 day loop around two high mountain lakes in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Eastern Oregon’s Wallowa mountains. This gorgeous, wild country is the ancestral land of the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Cayuse, and Walla Walla nations. We will push our comfort levels as we travel 19.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,562 ft.

We will be joined by my badass dad, who is also backpacking for the first time in 20+ years. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys backpacking and will be showing us some field craft skills on trail.

The man who got my family safely through the camping trip from hell, can teach us to survive anywhere.

So how do Wendy and I plan our backpacking trips? Here are a few tips for getting started:

  1. Pick your route. Is there someplace really beautiful that you have always wanted to visit? Fire up Google and start searching for backpacking loops. alltrails.com and hikingproject.com have excellent options.
  2. Consider how many miles you are capable of realistically hiking each day with 30-35 pounds on your back. You want to have plenty of time to relax and set up camp before the sun goes down.
  3. Make sure your trail has plenty of accessible clean water sources. Hydration is critical on a multi-day trip, so make sure that clean water is nearby your campsites. Read trail reviews and don’t be afraid to call the local Ranger district and ask questions. This is one reason Wendy and I try to plan our trips around lakes.
  4. Research the area you are planning to visit for any permits you might need, along with rules for pets if you plan on bringing your furbabies. Some places are so restricted, they only give out permits by a yearly lottery system. Get your permits ahead of time to make planning easier!

In our next post Wendy will share how she puts together the training plans that we use to prepare for our trip. Last year, starting our training early helped us to have a fun and successful trip without injury. Be kind and give yourself time to get ready.

Grab a bestie and find your perfect trail, there is adventure waiting for you!

Lower Twin Lake, Mt Hood OR ancestral land of the Molalla, Cascades and Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.

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