Eagle Creek 03/06 - One Night:
A buddy and I hiked into Wy' East Camp along the Eagle Creek Trail on Friday. We started about 11:30 and took our time getting there while stopping along the way to take pictures. One of the best parts was that my pack was only 24 lbs. This was by far the lightest pack I'd ever been carrying on a backpacking trip. Along with the light backpack I decided to wear trail shoes instead of heavier backpacking boots. I can honestly say that this was the easiest hike I'd ever taken with all my gear, thanks of course to all the lightweight gear that didn't exist a few short years ago.
The weather was great on the way to the campsite, but once we got there and got things setup it started to rain. At least it waited until then. Both of us made dinner inside the vestibules of our tents; I had never needed to do that before, but it was actually a very nice experience. We hit the sack fairly early and it rained off and on throughout the night. With the cold temps and the lack of any breeze at all, my tent walls were full of condensation, mainly due to my Tarptent Rainbow single wall design. At times the rain would hit the tent hard enough to cause drops of condensation to fall from the inside, almost as if it was raining on the inside of the tent, not too bad though. The best part was staying warm inside my sleeping bag although it did drop down to at least 37 degrees inside the tent.
The next day we woke up and had breakfast, I had coffee and some oatmeal which went a long ways towards warming me up. At one point I had on all 5 layers of my upper body clothing just to keep warm that morning. Once we hit the trail towards Tunnel Falls I warmed up very quickly and was able to reduce how many layers I was wearing. Once we got to Tunnel Falls we agreed to go on a little further to see a couple of more falls. At one point about 8 hikers were coming through and I made the bad mistake of getting off the main trail by walking down some sloping slippery rocks towards the creek just above Crisscross Falls and landed with all of my weight onto my left elbow and hip. Thankfully nobody saw it happen so only my body was bruised.
As we hiked back to camp we discussed the option of staying another even wetter, colder night since it had been raining most of the day and the clouds were getting much lower, thicker and darker. We finally decided that we would head on out. Then on the way back to camp I made another bad choice as we were crossing a creek where the log bridge had been wiped out. As I was trying to step up onto a rock that was about 3 feet above the log and then onto the trail itself, I literally felt every muscle and tendon in my right knee being stretched and who knows what else. I fell to the ground in great pain and sat there for about a minute. I got up and started hiking again knowing that I couldn't let it keep me down for very long.
Just as we were about done packing up, a group of 4 teenagers on spring break showed up to setup their tent just a few yeards from ours. I can only imagine the party we missed out on, not that we would have been awake to even hear what was going on. Packing up inside the tent was the only way to try to keep things dry, it really went pretty fast since I had left the kitchen sink at home due to my new lightweight packing choice.
By this time it had been raining quite a bit, but thankfully I stayed dry under my rain hat and rain jacket. As we headed back to the car we encountered many teenagers heading in to setup camp, I sure hope they were able to stay dry enough to enjoy themselves. We also met smaller groups asking how much further it was to the waterfall, as if there was only one to see; it was fun sharing some helpful info to guide them along with considerations for time as well before it got too dark. Who wants to be on an unfamiliar trail in the dark, especially one with sheer dropoffs - NOT ME!
After I got home I went out for dinner with my family and enjoyed some Mexican food along with some well earned Widmer Hefewiezen's. Needless to say when I woke up this morning I was in a lot of pain and still am. I always learn something new on every one of my backpacking trips and on this one I learned that when I'm not in a hurry, to take my time and make decisions based more on my own personal safety and not the stopwatch. Had I taken my time I would be sitting here without any pain at all. Oh well, live and learn I suppose. Better to learn a few miles from the trailhead instead of 50 miles away.
Already I can't wait for my next trip. When and where to go will be my next job.
This is the first time I've taken the time to write up a brief summary of a trip and I'm glad I did. It brings back the good memories, even for just a one night trip.
Photo Gallery: http://jeffandjean.smugmug.com/gallery/1309647
Happy Trails to You,
The Hiking Dude