Friday night I found myself running in to EMS to buy freeze-dried dinners for an impromptu backpacking trip. Way back in the summer, I explained to Isaac that nighttime diapers were preventing us from backpacking. Somehow, over time this evolved into a promise. So, when he requested to go camping, and he kept his bed dry for a week, I figured we had to follow through despite the to-do list and the season. At first, Isaac requested kayak camping, but I insisted it was too cold for that.
The weekend experience was a bit surreal for me. I am used to backpacking trips for a week out in the wilderness. This was totally different.
Saturday morning we chopped and split wood. We ate the pulled pork I had originally intended for dinner as our lunch. After lunch, I packed, and then we drove 30 minutes to a small patch of public land on the Wapack trail, Binney Pond Natural Area.
I couldn’t remember any good camping spots from the one time we hiked that section of the Wapack trail in 2012, so I just targeted the last flat spot by the pond before the trail climbed up Pratt Mountain. Tyson remembered a stone wall crossing the trail at the bottom of the hill. Estimating the distance on the map, it looked like 2,000′ to the far side of the pond. When we arrived at the trailhead, I realized that some Binney Hill Rd is undrivable, more than doubling the hike distance. Because of our late start and the extra distance, the sun set before we made it to the end of the pond. In the fading dusk gloom, we found the stone wall and a small spring by the side if the trail. The easy access to water made it a much nicer camping spot than I expected. Then we hunted for a tent site in the dark. Unfortunately the whole area was sloped hillside. We couldn’t find anywhere level. I at least found one spot without rocks or roots.
We cooked dinner on the stone wall. We used the remnants of a fuel canister from some camping trip years ago because I forgot to buy a new fuel canister at EMS. After cooking our main dinner, we skipped the side dish and saved the rest of the fuel for breakfast. Everyone had eaten plenty of pulled pork for lunch, so no one was hungry anyways. We cleaned the dishes, hung up the bear bag, and called it a night.
I spent the entire night sliding down to the bottom of the tent. Isaac was so short we just left him and his pad at the bottom. It was definitely cold, but we had brought enough layers. Outside, it probably dropped to just around freezing. We slept in too late to see any frost on the ground.
In the morning, we set up kitchen on the rock wall again. The fuel held out long enough, and the instant oatmeal packets from some historical backpacking trip were still edible. We still had plenty of water for the hike out, but I figured I might as well keep pretending we were backpacking. So I showed Isaac how to pump water from the spring and he pumped a half liter.
We had no lunch because I expected us back at the car by midmorning. We were reduced to Isaac’s hiking pace since couldn’t carry him and the backpacking gear. He had hiked in quickly in the dark, but by daylight, everything was distracting. We eventually arrived at the car a little after noon. Isaac declared the whole experience a fun adventure.
Back home, I tried to cram in all the rest of my weekend chores.