I took my son Chris out on an overnight backpacking trip to Harriman State Park in NY (~30 min north of NYC).
Here we are at the start of the trip at a parking area just off the Palisades Parkway.
Chris packed his sleeping bag, pad, drink, rain gear playings cards, and toys all of the way. After a 10 min. hike on a bike trail we joined the AT to climb up West Mountain.
We had a pretty good 1/2 to 3/4 mile hike uphill, and Chris did a GREAT job, although we took a few breaks to talk with a boy scout troop coming downhill, including one leader/parent that was limping along with a blownout knee. We got some nice views from the top, which was good since the next morning was foggy and rainy with only short views.
We got to West Mountain Shelter, but decided to set up camp ~30 yards away from the shelter since there was a father with two boys and a very smokey fire in the shelter fireplace. We found a very nice mossy spot (how often does that happen) and pitched our BMW Cat tarp that I bought from Pedro on Gear Swap (thanks, Pedro!). I kept warm with my Jack's-R-Better quilt, BPL hoody, and Smartwool hat (thanks Brad Smyth from Gear Swap).
We had a nice dinner of mashed potatoes and Ramen Noodles cooked on the Bushbuddy. I like the Bushbuddy, but it does take constant feeding of small sticks to keep it at max temp. Then we watched the earthly constellations of New York skyline come alive, which substituted for the heavenly stars since the clouds had started to roll in. When those also were extinguished by the clouds, we went back to the tarp and played cards under the tarp.
They were calling for rain that night and the wind was picking up, but I think we were in better shape than the Korean guy that had pitched his tarp on a "nice flat patch"...soon to be the bottom of a mud puddle. We had some wind blowing in, but it was just enough for us to scooch down toward the end of the tarp.
Chris (like al boys) rolled around and heaven help me if I brought him back to his mother with a cold, so I zipped him up in my Oware bivy.
We awoke to fog and rain blowing off the trees. It was a soft, pretty type of morning with the lichen a different color and the leaves glistening with raindrops.
I zipped Chris up in the bivy partway through the night to keep the spray off him and prevent him from telling his mother when we got home that he was even the slightest bit cold during the trip.
We fired up the Bushbuddy at the shelter for an oatmeal breakfast. The shelter roof leaked, so the guy with two boys was happy that he had pitched his tent inside it. Someone had started a fire again and was burning Mountain Laurel bushes, so between the fog and smoke, my little Bushbuddy seemed fairly innocuous.
We packed up and started hiking downhill in the rain.
Since Harriman is so close to New York City, there are always lots of people hiking on the trails. We passed a couple of folks on the way out. Although the trails have lots of splits where people went off trail and too much trash, it's actually a nice area to hike through. The thing I like about UL backpacking (12.5 lbs for me and 5.5 lbs for Chris...with LOTS of extra stuff, just in case) is that you can't even see my pack in this photo.
We got back to the car and got some fast food for the drive home.