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Black Mountain Backpack Camp

Day 2 of 2

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Sunday, October 12th
Black Mountain Backpack Camp to Trailhead
2.0 miles
170 vertical feet (ascent)
670 vertical feet (descent)

The wind blew most of the night, waking me up numerous times (that and the fact that Nathan inexplicably stuck a finger in my eye during the middle of the night). But we were comfortable inside our sleeping bags, despite the cold. It was 46 degrees inside the tent at 7am; I'm guessing it got down to around 40 outside. This fact made us very unmotivated to get up early.

When I finally did poke my head outside the tent, I was surprised to find that the sky was completely clear and the reason it was still relatively dim was that the sun hadn't yet made its way over the top of Black Mountain. Soon enough it did and it started to warm up.

After breakfast, we went for a short walk in the area, then started to pack up. Marisa and Brian packed up first, and decided they would start off with all four kids while we finished. They ended up leaving about 25 minutes before Jean and I left camp. Still, since they were saddled with four kids they didn't get far. We caught up pretty quickly.

This was one trip where I may have ended up with a heavier pack going out than on the way in. I carried out the tarp that I'd lent to Brian (he slept outside, under the stars). I also carried out 2 pounds worth of dirty diapers; hopefully by next time Jared will be potty-trained. I did carry less food and fuel out, but I'm not sure if it made up the difference.

View looking toward Skyline

Despite the cold at the start of the day, it warmed up quickly, and I soon stopped to take off my jacket. We went back the same way we had reached the camp, except that we didn't take the little detour we had the day before. The views were all the same, and we still ran into lots of mountain bikers. It was just a matter of motivating the kids to keep moving. It helped that it was mostly downhill all the way back.

Rounding the corner and heading home

Eventually, we all made it back to the trailhead. Despite all the people and the telephone poles near camp and the transmission towers on Black Mountain, it was nice to be out here, and it never felt crowded at camp. It was a good first backpacking trip for the kids and opens the door for a lot more adventure. To be honest, I was hoping my next backpacking trip would be to Angel Island in the spring, but it now appears those plans have gone up in smoke, as over half the island has just burned. I'll have to wait and see on that.

In any case, I'm hopeful that next year we'll be able to do more backpacking, including a multi-night trip. Now that we've done a trip, we know it's possible to carry all the gear and food, so it's just a matter of finding the right trip with manageable distances for the kids.

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