Low Mileage: Bear Run Nature Reserve: Beginner Winter Backpacking Trip, SW PA

OK, here is the updated trip description.

We'll meet up Friday night, 6pm, 12/14, at the Kiss-and-Ride at Grosvenor, and drive out to the reserve, following this route:

http://goo.gl/maps/d5BHt

Everybody in DC good with reaching this meet up spot?

With my car and Mike's, we'll have seven seats, so depending on how things go, we may need a third car at Grosvenor (I'll worry about that next week).  It's about a three and a half hour drive, so we should arrive at the trailhead about about 9:30pm.  Max, feel free to arrive early and walk in to the campsite--we'll be there just after 10pm, I reckon.

Once the DC crowd gets there, we'll park, walk about a mile in to the campsite on Snowbunny Trail, find Max, pitch shelters, and get some sleep.  Do be prepared to walk in the dark, so fresh batteries for your headlamps!

Saturday morning, we'll get started on what is a crazy circumnavigiation of the Bear Run Nature Reserve.  Essentially, we'll be doing a lap or two to get the miles in.  Here is the trail map.  I estimate that the total split will look like[masked] for about 21.5 miles for the weekend.  A very easy weekend for us, and great for people new to the group.  The terrain is supposed to be quite easy as well, with limited elevation change. 

We'll wake early both days, walk most of the day Saturday, and enjoy a nice campfire Saturday night--bring your flasks.  Sunday, again, we'll start fairly early so we can finish no later than 11am.

Our goal will be to reach this pub at noon on Sunday.  After a meal and a pint, we'll head home.

This is a true beginner's trip--the first I've ever done for the group!  At all points, we'll be fairly near the cars, so if something goes wrong, one can easily reach civilization.  In fact, we'll be passing by the cars on Saturday!  

Though the weather is predicted to be fairly mild for December, winter is not a good time to be pushing the boundaries in terms of being "ultra light."  You need the appropriate weight equipment to stay warm and dry.  If you have any questions or concerns about what you need, post below, or contact me.

I don't think there will be enough snow on the ground to impede our progress.

Given the fact that this is a beginner's trip, I'm fine taking a ninth and a tenth person.  Obviously, alert me if your plans change.

MM

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  • Daniel

    Enjoyed exploring a new neck of the woods, criss-crossing the cat's cradle of trails in Bear Run. Next time, I will even bring my whole tent back with me.

    December 17, 2012

  • Carrie G.

    Had a great time! Thanks for letting me join!

    December 16, 2012

  • Michael M.

    Great fun, everyone! Thanks for such a fun group! Trip report coming soon, along with details about Sasquatch!

    December 16, 2012

  • Jimmy

    Great trip with lots of wonderful people. I certainly learned a lot about the "UL Backpacking" ways.

    December 16, 2012

  • Shelby P.

    This trip was fantastic!!! I learned so much and really enjoyed getting to know everyone on the trip! Thank you!!!

    December 16, 2012

  • Sharon G

    As usual, it was a great weekend outdoors with fantastic company.

    December 16, 2012

  • MikeVW

    A fun trip complete with new faces, a great fire, and a visit by Sasquatch! Nicer weather than I was expecting, and a good set of trails to explore.

    December 16, 2012

  • Michael M.

    Carrie, there is a wide-open parking lot behind the parking garage. If you pull into it, you can park right in front of where people are exiting the metro. I've never had to pay before, but I'll bring my SmartCard just in case (there are little toll booths there). If that proves to be a problem, just pull into the Kiss and Ride, which is also right in front of the Metro. They are close enough together so that we can get set up and roll. I'm going to the gym in a second and will be out of touch for a few hours. MM

    December 14, 2012

  • Carrie G.

    Can I ask again what lot at the metro I should pull into? Should I have a metro pass? I will actually be coming south on Rockville Pike because I am going to hit the REI store beforehand to pick up a soft shell I just bought and maybe some Aquamira. Let me know if you need anything!

    December 14, 2012

  • Jimmy

    Hey Michael, will we be grabbing dinner on the road Friday?

    December 9, 2012

    • Sharon G

      Even more bizarre if someone forgets her poles. ;-)

      December 13, 2012

    • Michael M.

      You're even more UL if you leave your poles behind.

      December 13, 2012

  • Michael M.

    If anyone is interested, here is my gear list for 3-season purposes:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uQlJHdC5SjUSa-2duqDSlChYLqV9HP6CKjg0xAakysM/edit

    Given how mild it's going to be, I'm likely just to take that load. I might sub out a few items (hardshell for rain jacket) or toss something extra in (sleeping socks?). Not sure.

    A little sad, as I wanted to take my winter stuff. I guess I'll have to wait till the AFT, where it's looking cold and wintery. MM

    December 13, 2012

  • Jimmy

    Hey just out of curiosity, anyone from this group live in the northern va area?

    December 11, 2012

    • Michael M.

      I'll be leaving from Old Town and driving to Grosvenor in the afternoon. I could pick you up.

      December 12, 2012

    • Jimmy

      Yea, that would be really great! I'll email you exactly where I live. Let me know what time and i'll be ready.

      December 12, 2012

  • Carrie G.

    Can I ask what you guys do about lunch on the trail. It's probably a silly question, but do you stop for a brief lunch or should I make sure I have more of the kind I can eat while walking. I usually make PBJ wraps or have some sort of meat and cheese (I know, heavy). I don't care, I just want to know what to pack!

    December 12, 2012

    • Michael M.

      We'll usually stop for lunch and have a bite unless we're in some sort of hurry or unless the weather is terrible. (One of the advantages of starting early is that we can often loafe some in the afternoon and still get where we're going.) We'll have plenty of time this weekend. For me, I usually plan on[masked] pounds of food a day. Usually, that means my dehydrated meals for dinner, my coffee (Starbucks Via) and cup of noodles for breakfast, then a few things for snacks and lunch. Toss in the whisky flask and maybe a thing of soup and a dehydrated cider pouch. Lunch for me is often granola bars, a snickers, crackers or something like that. Put the food bag on the scale to make sure I haven't overpacked.

      December 12, 2012

    • Michael M.

      Which reminds me that I have to stock up on Trader Joe's Miso soup packets. So yummy when it's cold.

      December 12, 2012

  • Doug

    Can't wait to see how this turns out for y'all. I did this a few years ago (a day doing the loop, and then the next day a visit to Falling Water which is nearby). My hiking partner and I got lost on the loop, backtracked and all and could never find where we missed the trail, so never did complete the loop. Hope you fair better than we did!

    December 9, 2012

    • Michael M.

      @Doug ... What do remember of the campsites?

      December 10, 2012

    • Doug

      Michael, far too long ago for me to remember much. We only camped one night, I remember the site being pretty small. I had a hammock, I forget what shelter she had but it was a tent of some sort. Wasn't a lot more room for anything else, maybe one more shelter could have fit there.

      December 10, 2012

  • Jason W.

    Hey, is there room on this one? I'll check with the bosses if so.

    Peace,
    j

    December 8, 2012

    • Michael M.

      @Jason ... Yes, I could take two more.

      December 10, 2012

    • Jason W.

      Thanks Michael! Still working on the boss.

      December 10, 2012

  • Carrie G.

    What is the water situation on this hike? I can't tell very well from the map.

    December 9, 2012

    • Carrie G.

      My Pack It Gourmet just arrived yesterday!

      December 9, 2012

    • Michael M.

      I had their Texas State Fair Chili on the Delaware Water Gap trip and it was amazing. I plan to contact them to add them to our list of sponsors. When a plastic bag of just-boil-water food is as good as that .... well, it calls into question the whole point of cooking.

      December 9, 2012

  • Shelby P.

    All of these posts are so helpful (water, water purification, breakfast, Fri dinner). THANK YOU! @Jimmy, I am also carrying a hotel (ha! I have a Gunnison). I have a feeling I will want a bivy or a hammock after this trip.

    Cheers!

    December 9, 2012

    • Jimmy

      Hahahah, awesome! Looking forward to this!

      December 9, 2012

  • Michael M.

    So I just drove to Cleveland and back--not a trace of white stuff anywhere. I stopped off at the trailhead near Ohiopyle, so I won't get us lost Friday. As Doug mentions, it is quite a tangled web of trails out there. @ Max, perhaps it would be best if you met us at the trailhead. If you really want to get there earlier, I'll try to get us to the campsite marked on the map, but you never know.

    December 9, 2012

  • Michael M.

    @ Jason. Yes, there's room. I'll take 10.

    December 9, 2012

  • Jimmy

    Hey all, sorry for the late response. This is my first meetup with this group and I'm up for whatever we decide to do!

    December 4, 2012

    • Michael M.

      Thanks, Jimmy! I look forward to meeting you!

      December 5, 2012

  • Shelby P.

    Hi Everyone! I am sorry for the delayed response. I still would like to attend and I am great with either pub grub/pint or Falling Water on Sunday. I hear FW is pretty neat!

    December 4, 2012

    • Michael M.

      Great, Shelby! Glad you'll be joining us!

      December 4, 2012

  • Michael M.

    I'm getting ambivalent responses regarding Falling Water, so let's just skip that and go for the more conventional option of pub grub and a pint. Please don't forget to ping me to confirm.

    December 4, 2012

  • Max N.

    Nothing in Pittsburgh right now, but the ridge by Ohiopyle can catch it. Seven springs opened this weekend, but I don't know how much of that is man made. There was some snow up there from Sandy, but that has probably melted by now. I wouldn't expect to see much.

    December 2, 2012

    • Max N.

      If you don't see any on the turnpike, there shouldn't be any in Ohiopyle.

      December 2, 2012

    • Michael M.

      Yeah, since I'm headed that way anyway, I kind of want to poke around. May walk into a campsite. It looks like we can have fires there, which is nice.

      December 3, 2012

  • Michael M.

    Hey everyone, just got back home. I'll get caught up on organizing this trip, and we should be good to go ... Anybody know if PA has seen much snow? I was looking down on New York this morning, and there was definitely white stuff.

    December 2, 2012

  • Michael M.

    Welcome, Dane!

    November 16, 2012

  • Michael M.

    @Mike ... Tonight, I'll write a little winter camping primer in the discussion threads, and some other people can chime in. Several people have been asking questions on the topic.

    November 4, 2012

  • Michael M.

    @Daniel ... Well, above all, you'll need enough layers to stay warm even at camp. Often this will entail a down jacket, warm gloves, and booties or sleeping socks. And, of course, a good base layer. You'll need a sleeping pad and bag combination rated to the appropriate temperature--I will probably have my zero degree bag, but I have used my 20 degree bag on snow. I just wore every item of clothing I had. A 3-season shelter will be fine for the Mid-Atlantic. If there's so much snow that it looks like we'll need snow shoes, we'll have to discuss options (I don't own any snowshoes, yet). We'll have to take stock as the date approaches. The historical averages for the area show a high of 42 and a low of 25, which is reasonable enough.

    October 30, 2012

    • Daniel

      Good to know, thanks, Michael.

      October 30, 2012

9 went

  • Michael M.
    Veteran Plus Member (3-2!@) (B-VI) (WFA) (U-Turn) ('15), Organizer
    Event Host
  • Andrew
    Veteran Plus Member (2!) (Hang Glider) ('15), Assistant Organizer
  • Max N.
    Veteran Plus Member (3+@) (Yeti), Assistant Organizer
  • Daniel
    Veteran Plus Member (3!) (Heavy D) (15), Assistant Organizer
  • Carrie G.
    Veteran Plus Member (Booty-Less)
  • Jimmy
    Veteran Plus Member (GQ) ('15), Co-Organizer
  • Shelby P.
    Veteran Plus Member (3) (Shamrock), Assistant Organizer
  • Sharon G
    Veteran Plus Member (2) (MacGyver) (2015), Assistant Organizer
  • MikeVW
    Veteran Plus Member (2) (Eeyore) (15), Assistant Organizer

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