Beginner's Overnight Backpacking Hike & Camping - 4 Notch ~ 11 miles

My phone in case you get lost: Tom[masked]

Returning by popular demand, the highly acclaimed beginner's backpacking trip. This event will entail hiking in with all of our camping gear, camping overnight, and hiking back out. The total mileage will be about 11 miles split over the 2 days.

This location will not show up on your car navigation system. Please be sure of your driving directions before you leave and plan for some extra travel time.  To get there, drive I-45 north from Houston and take exit 102 to New Waverly then follow this map. 

For a map of the hiking area: Click here.

Forecast: Click here. 

For the last time we did this: Click Here.

For the photo album: Click here.

4 Notch Loop is a beautiful section of the Lone Star Hiking Trail that will take us to the camp among the large meadows at Hidden Lake.  This trip will give you the opportunity to try out backpacking without breaking your back on a high mileage hike. You will get the chance to practice carrying some weight without getting weighed down.

If you have ever considered doing any kind of extended hiking trail or backpacking, this is the trip to start with. If you do not have backpacking gear, do not worry, there are options. Some of us have extra gear to loan out, and you can buddy up with someone to share a tent.  REI rents backpacks for 3 days for $15. The packs are their Quest series.  They do not rent tents, pads, hydration, etc.  There will be plenty of people with stoves that can boil water for rehydrating food and we normally build a nice fire.

Please be accurate in your RSVP's for this trip because some of us will be making a water drop at the campsite ahead of time. There is no water available for us on the trail, so it will be very important that we account for this accurately. 

Basic Supplies: Backpack (not the kind you take to school), sleeping bag, tent, clothing layers, plenty of water, headlamp, food & snacks, earplugs (in case of snorers), toothbrush and toiletries

These are the very basics. You can go through the complete backpacking list by REI at http://www.rei.com/learn/expert... for additional ideas. Keep your weight in mind. Collect all of your supplies and weigh them to get a realistic idea of the weight you will carry. Then go for a walk with that much weight in a backpack. With a little care, weight will not be a problem for most people because of the short hike, but trying to stuff a big sleeping bag and tent into the pack will be more difficult than you think.  So do some planning.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

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  • annette l.

    I dont know his name but a massive thanks to the young fellow in the blue t-shirt and the beard. If you hadnt run and collected the lead group who had headed in the wrong direction nr the start of the hike, we may never have found the camp. Cheers a million. That jog with a backpack on was pretty heroic.

    3 · February 25, 2014

    • Carl J

      I was one of the knuckleheads in the lead group...That's not the first time I did that...I printed out the map for the next hike. Just don't tell anybody I am using a map...

      February 25, 2014

    • Kelli G.

      Albert dragged me across nearly all of the ravine crossings. Another gentleman carried my pack aways for me when I twisted my ankle. Thanks to u both!

      February 25, 2014

  • Dave R.

    Great!

    February 24, 2014

  • April

    I may not be super social, but I had a fantastic time surrounded by fantastic people in my favorite place to be. Fun and challenging hike. Slept like a lamb. Let's do it again. THANKS TOM!!!!

    1 · February 24, 2014

  • Kelli G.

    Except for twisting my ankle and being the absolute slowest person again, it was a blast!

    4 · February 23, 2014

    • Gloria C.

      I was impressed with your tenacity. You did great- and thanks for your help fitting my backpack. It was fun 'traveling' with you.

      1 · February 24, 2014

    • April

      Super big THANK YOU for adjusting my pack. I know it made my hike a millllllion times better.

      February 24, 2014

  • Chris

    Had a great time camping with you guys, would love to do more backpacking trips! I put all the pics on Google Drive https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B48gPVuJJz1uVjB5ejVYaEFuM1E&usp=sharing I haven't posted any to the meetup, I'll let y'all make the call there. Great meeting all of you! See you on the trail!

    4 · February 23, 2014

    • Chris

      Thanks for all the input, I'll post them to the meetup tonight after work. @Julieanne, I should have taken that pic, would've been great blackmail ;)

      February 24, 2014

    • Gloria C.

      Great photos! You're hired!

      1 · February 24, 2014

  • Carl J

    The extra water came in handy trying to maintain the proper whisky/hydration ratio to prevent a hangover. It worked.

    1 · February 24, 2014

    • Carl J

      Had a wonderful time... I was thinking about posting the pics from my daughters Mani/pedi slumber birthday part that broke my heart that I missed all that girly stuff.

      1 · February 24, 2014

    • Carl J

      I Heard several people snoring... It probably sounded the same as the love struck toads. lol

      February 24, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I had a wonderful time. So glad to of met so many awsome people. Can you imagine several days in a row of this!!!!! Cant wait to do it again.

    4 · February 23, 2014

    • Jan B.

      He really seemed to enjoy himself! Would love to go with you

      February 24, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Where wold we go Jan ?

      February 24, 2014

  • Cynthia R.

    I had emergency last night that kept me up till 5:30am. We will not be able to make it as a result..so sorry for the short notice..but it is first chance I have had to get on the internet.

    February 22, 2014

    • Jan B.

      So sorry you missed hope everything is ok now

      February 24, 2014

  • Mark E.

    Had a great time. Perfect weather and a great group outing for my first H.A.T. outing.

    1 · February 24, 2014

  • Gloria C.

    A wonderful first time backpacking experience! The group is diverse, friendly, helpful and fun. This trip helped me learn what NOT to do next time and I am looking forward to the next time.

    3 · February 24, 2014

  • Carl J

    Thanks so much for the people who did the water drop... y'all saved us...

    4 · February 24, 2014

  • Lizzy Arnina O.

    Next time we camp out, we should bring s'mores and some steaks to BBQ! Ha,ha.

    4 · February 23, 2014

  • Jan B.

    I had a great time. Tom, Thank you so much for organizing this event, you did a wonderful job. I especially liked the latrine. That was so considerate. I met so many new people at this event and hoping to see more of them. so much fun!

    3 · February 23, 2014

  • Ken M.

    Because I am not there, I yearn to share your excitement vicariously. Please post bunches of pics real soon. Have fun.

    February 22, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Now I know why we didnt see the eight man tent. Ken wish you could of made it.

      February 23, 2014

  • agnes

    Kate said she has a lot of fun. Thanks everyone.

    2 · February 23, 2014

  • Zara

    Had an awesome time and was so nice to meet everyone...can't wait to go again...although if we can go slower next time or take more breaks that'd be great. This group is awesome!!!

    4 · February 23, 2014

  • Ronnie J. C.

    this is Natalie Ronnie Paulette and David we came down the rock Road and we can't find and we are at the third meadow and we cannot find you please help us by telling us where or how you get there please message us back on meet up thank you. Are you can call Ronnie at[masked] we really need someone to contact us thank you

    1 · February 22, 2014

  • Chris

    Had a great time! Can't wait to do another one....maybe just shorter distance hiking on the way in :-)

    3 · February 23, 2014

  • Ann Epstein V.

    hands down, the best group of people ever!

    4 · February 23, 2014

  • Therese C.

    The money I spent on the backpack was well worth it. I had a fantastic time out as I'm sure everyone else did. I hope we do this again.

    6 · February 23, 2014

  • Lora

    Awesome planning guys, this was great to try out gear and learn a LOT of tips from the pros! Thank you so much!!!

    3 · February 23, 2014

  • Tom P.

    What made this trip successful is that so many did something to help, in some way, big or small.

    9 · February 23, 2014

  • Kathryn P.

    Looks like you all had a good time. We'll be there next week so hope 'Leave No Trace' was covered. B-)

    1 · February 23, 2014

  • Carl J

    Awesome camping experience. ..Can't wait to do it again

    2 · February 23, 2014

  • Lizzy Arnina O.

    Had fun guys! It was Nice meeting you all!

    1 · February 23, 2014

  • Ann Epstein V.

    There's a major shutdown on i45 past tomball exit, I'm sitting in it

    February 22, 2014

  • annette l.

    Final weigh in of backpack with water and all supplies. 19.8 lbs.

    February 22, 2014

  • BEVERLY K.

    Trying to get rid of bronchitis for the last week and still can't shake it. Sorry, I'm not going to be able to make it today.

    February 22, 2014

  • Tom P.

    My phone in case you get lost: Tom[masked]

    February 22, 2014

  • Zara

    Ok this may sound silly. So some people will do a water drop, does this mean we won't have to bring as much water with us? Sorry I am a real novice.

    February 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Yes Zara, it means you can use the water being taken in. If you use alot of water then bring a little more.

      February 21, 2014

    • Zara

      Great thanks...the weather is gonna be beautiful and I look forward to this!!!!!

      February 21, 2014

  • Lizzy Arnina O.

    We bought a tent and almost everything we need! Can't wait to meet you all! p.s Is anyone bringing a small camping grill?

    1 · February 20, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      You can make your own grill with a few large rocks and some foil put in the camp fire. If there are any large rocks out there.

      1 · February 21, 2014

    • Lizzy Arnina O.

      Thanks!

      February 21, 2014

  • Janet

    I kept hoping it was something I ate but now believe I have the stomach bug circulating school. Don't want to spend my w/e digging holes. Sorry.

    February 21, 2014

  • Carl J

    That's what I like about this group...Everybody is so helpful...

    1 · February 21, 2014

  • Carl J

    My krap doesn't all fit...Uuuggghhh

    1 · February 21, 2014

    • Jan B.

      Carl, bring it all with you and maybe we can help you pack it. There is a special way to pack that works.

      February 21, 2014

    • Carl J

      I got it to fit. I don't have much room for water though.

      February 21, 2014

  • Ann Epstein V.

    So i plan on sleeping on my yoga mat, and ive rolled it up, put two bungee cords around it and have it hanging off the bottom of my backpack. It seems kind of awkward. How do others pack their sleeping pads?

    1 · February 21, 2014

    • Ann Epstein V.

      Never mind, the yoga pad is too heavy and bulky, switching to plan B.

      1 · February 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ann, see if there is a way to hook your mat to the top of your pack. It will be less awkward. If not we may be able to try something in the morning.

      1 · February 21, 2014

  • Luke

    Sorry guys im not gonna make it this weekend. Have a great hike!

    2 · February 21, 2014

  • Rita

    So it means we have to carry all the camping gear while hiking? Where are we going to camp? No reservation needed?

    1 · February 19, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Yes Rita we will be carring everything in. No reservations needed. This will not be a normal camping area. No bathrooms, no showers, no tables... No comforts accept what you carry in with you.

      February 20, 2014

    • Kathryn P.

      Rita if you're in NW area I have some gear you can borrow. Don't want you to be discouraged and not go.

      February 21, 2014

  • Tom P.

    I've put hiking directions and a map in the files section for anyone who needs one or thinks they might miss the group hike and wants to join us later. http://files.meetup.com/1731871/HATs%20Backpacking.pdf

    February 21, 2014

  • Carl J

    I had a dry run this morning...Cupid and I hiked 2 miles, then decided to load my pack for an additional 3 miles with about 25 pounds...ithout water....We walked Terry Hershey, where the group walked a while back on the last leg...The hills there simulate Huntsville...I feel I could do the 6 miles, even when I add the water...

    February 20, 2014

    • Carl J

      We can always use a donkey to carry supplies...

      February 21, 2014

    • Carl J

      Remind me to tell the joke about the married couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary at the Grand Canyon. Not the best joke teller but I'll try to do it justice and not skrew it up.

      February 21, 2014

  • Ken C.

    i was planning to carry it myself but I might wind up dragging it most of the way lol

    1 · February 20, 2014

    • Jan B.

      Someone might have a lighter one you could borrow

      February 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ken maybe you can get a sled and mush it in.

      February 21, 2014

  • Melissa

    Anyone doing this as a one day trip? I am interested in a day trip? Is it alright?

    February 20, 2014

    • David

      I think so, yes. I believe the event coordinator somewhere on this page said for those of you that just want to make it a day hike you have the option of turning around after the destination. Should be five miles there and back.

      February 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I have been out in those woods before. The trails are not always the best. You might want to mark your car with your gps so you can make sure you get back.

      February 21, 2014

  • annette l.

    Food doesn't seem quite enough to me.

    February 20, 2014

    • Jan B.

      I am bringing a sub for lunch on Saturday. I have a ramen noodle mix called beefy noodle that I premixed in a foil bag and will just add boiling water to at dinner time. For breakfast one of those Special K mixes in a cup with quinoa all you do is add boiling water. Also an orange & Coffee in tea bags. Snacks packed in small one serving sizes: trail mix, peanut butter crackers, pretzels, cookies and an Apple. Also have a couple of individual size mixes to add to water to enjoy with meals. I think that is really a lot. You will be more thirsty than hungry this weekend. There will be a camp fire and hot dog are always easy, you can also make a bag out of foil put your dinner in it and cook it in the fire. Hope this helps look on- line there are lots of really good backpacking recipes

      February 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Jan I think I will hang out with you. You are going to need help eating all those snacks.

      2 · February 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Just encase someone wants this info... Being that this area is very humid, in the morning our tents will be covered with water. It is better to dry your tent off before packing it. If not make sure you set it up at home to dry out. Hopefully it will not be a humid night.

    2 · February 20, 2014

    • Dave R.

      The best towel is a "packtowel" from REI - I sear by it. It is like a chamois - you merely wring it out and continue using it. I wouldn't go camping or backpacking or hiking without it. I often drop off & swim during these events & dry with the towel. My whole crew of 8 has used just one - SOP is each person wrings it out prior to passing it on (like at Big Bend Hot Springs, etc.).

      February 20, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Dave do you think eighty people could use your towel this time. Aw so sweet of you to share. :-)

      February 21, 2014

  • annette l.

    My pack currently ways 18lbs with everything except my water supply. May i ask what weight everyone else will be hauling. New to camping without a car and wonder if me and my twisted ankle are trying to carry too much.

    February 19, 2014

    • Dave R.

      Gloria, 30 lbs with water is great. As I mentioned, In stead of a pillow, I use a baby's pillowcase & stuff my fleece jacket into it - lovely pillow.

      1 · February 20, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I put my pack under my pad and then I use my kneck pillow. You know the u shape pillow for traveling. It is very light and squishes into a very small ball for packing. I believe it is made with the memory foam.Very comfey.

      February 21, 2014

  • Jan B.

    Just a thought to those who are new since A nnette Lee mentioned sprained ankle, I hope everyone has a decent pair of hiking boots with good ankle support.

    February 21, 2014

  • Dave W.

    The street sign for Four Notch Road is missing at the junction of Four Notch Road, FM 2929 and FM 2296. Just know that FM 2296 goes north-south, FM 2929 only goes northwest, and Four Notch Road goes southeast.

    If you don't have a GPS device, check you odometer at the Four Notch Road /FM 2296 junction.

    Drive 2.4 miles southeast on Four Notch Road to gravel FS 213. The only signage here is a small brown sign with "213" in white numbers on your left.This is just past a yellow house on the left side

    Drive 0.2 miles north on FS 213 to the parking area.

    February 20, 2014

  • annette l.

    In addition, any ladies out there successfully used a SHEWEE? Current experiments have not been altogether successful an wondered if any experienced users had mastered its opaque arts!?!

    1 · February 20, 2014

    • Kathryn P.

      Use REI similar product. Great for tired legs, cacti, and midnight runs.

      1 · February 20, 2014

    • Lizzy Arnina O.

      I would love to get one. Seems Handy. I'm just going to have to squat down >_<

      February 20, 2014

  • Lizzy Arnina O.

    I need a tent where both My Fiancee and i could fit on. Does anyone have one we can use!? or knows of a place where we can rent one for the night!?

    February 20, 2014

  • Paulette

    I use a freshette that I have had success with on backpacking trips. Think ingot it from REI several years ago.

    2 · February 20, 2014

  • annette l.

    Food is becoming a pain. I have nuts and vegetable chips and a very small thermos flask to store 4 hot sausages for our dinner. Will buy bread rolls on route.

    February 20, 2014

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