Megan turns 13 here in a couple weeks. Katelyn is 11. The weather forecast was perfect, and there weren’t any other conflicts, so we decided to head out on their first overnight backpacking trip.
The girls seemed pretty excited to go. I gave them general directions of what to bring and what not to bring, and they did a great job of packing themselves. When I got home from work Friday afternoon they were eager to hit the trail. I packed up the all the food, the tent, my Jetboil, and standard backpacking equipment. But, they each carried their own sleeping bags, pads, water, extra clothing, toothbrushes, and stuffed animals and brushes (they are still little girls, after all).
We decided to go up to the Ridge Trail (157) up at the top of American Fork Canyon. We parked up at the Alpine Loop summit parking lot, got on our packs and hit the trail. Uncle Eli and his little puppy Bert (short for Albert Einstein) came along with us. We were immediately hit with the rugged beauty of the Utah mountains and came upon many beautiful vistas.
The trail was pretty up-and-down, but there weren’t a lot of big climbs. We passed a great camping spot about 1.25 miles in which was occupied by a group of Boy Scouts. But, we had looked on the map and set our sights on the Mud Springs trail intersection (about 2 miles in).
The girls did great. They frequently commented on the beauty of the forest. The pretty flowers. The scenic views. They were already talking about what their Instagram posts would be.
We got to the Mud Springs intersection and found a place to make camp. The girls helped setup the tent as I started making dinner. Katelyn was scared when I lit the stove, and Megan had a hard time figuring out how to attach the tent poles, but they caught on quickly. We enjoyed a delicious freeze-dried meal and the girls raved about how much better food tastes when you’re in the outdoors. We made a dessert too and then got ready for bed.
We slept in until about 8AM. We didn’t have a schedule, which was really nice. The girls huddled around the fire, ate some instant oatmeal for breakfast, played with Bert and then started packing up to head back home.
The hike home felt longer, but the girls still didn’t whine, complain, or belly-ache at all. They just hiked. However, they were definitely happy to get back to the parking lot and take off their packs.
Along the way, we passed several mountain bikers and other hikers who commented on these tough, cute girls out backpacking in the Utah wilderness. Megan and Katelyn did a great job and I was sure proud of them. We will definitely be doing this again.