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Beginner's Backpacking Hike/Camp - 4 Notch - 10 miles

Update, please read:

With this many people we many not be able to get enough water back to the camp for everyone to have all they need. I suggest that you bring all the water you need for yourself with you to the trail head and we can let you know if we have been able to make a stash at camp. The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day, but with only a quick hike Sunday a full gallon for the second day is probably too much. Plan according to your normal drinking needs for a hike this long plus cooking water and some extra. It is just best to come prepared and be able to leave some water in the car.

Tom & I are putting together a beginner's backpacking trip. This will entail hiking in with all of our camping gear, camping overnight, and hiking back out. The total mileage will be about 10 miles split over the 2 days. This will be a precursor to future backpacking treks.

http://lonestartrail.org/maps/simple/06fournotch.pdf

4 Notch Loop is a beautiful section of the Lonestar Hiking Trail. 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 in over your head.

If you have ever considered doing any kind of extended hiking trail or backpacking, I recommend this trip. If you do not have backpacking gear, do not worry. Some of us have extra gear to loan out, and you can always rent packs from REI. REI rents backpacks to members for 3 days for $11. Nonmembers are $15 for 3 days. The packs are their Quest series. They are internal frame packs that retail for about $250. They do not include tents, pads, hydration, etc.

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. You can fill the backpack with canned foods or weights to simulate the same weight you will carry while backpacking. Let me know if you have any questions! :-)

We look forward to seeing you all there! :-)

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  • Dennis S.

    I had a great time and it was good to meet everyone. I can't wait for the next backpacking trip. It was great to spend a weekend outdoors.

    January 31, 2013

  • Joe M.

    This was my first 'meet up' and I had a great time. Backpacking was something I've wanted to do for some time. Thanks for letting me be a part. I will be attending more events!

    January 29, 2013

  • Jan B.

    looks like you all had a wonderful time. I hope that I won't have to work next time.

    January 28, 2013

  • Fatima

    First time backpacking. I had a wonderful time. Wonderful group of people.

    January 27, 2013

  • Boaz A.

    Interesting, especially hiking with people that this is their first time.

    1 · January 27, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you, Apollo and I had a great time!

    January 27, 2013

  • Lori

    I had a great time and enjoyed meeting everyone!

    January 27, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    I just posted the pics on my Flickr.com site. It has tons of pics from past meetups. Feel free to look around! http://www.flickr.com/photos/cooljennpics/sets/72157632629314130/

    January 27, 2013

  • Jason C.

    Thanks to Tom and Jennifer for organizing this trip. I had a great time hiking, camping and meeting everyone. Look forward to the next trip. - Jason

    2 · January 27, 2013

  • Tom P.

    Thanks to everyone that attended and made this such a special trip with extra thanks for those that pitched in to help out with things big and small. Particular thanks to Jennifer for being the Event Host and posting the trip in the forum. Several people asked for tracks of the route for the early group out on Sunday.

    GPX tracks: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/6710559/PostedFiles/HiddenLakeSuperSecretShortcut.gpx

    KMZ file for Google Earth: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/6710559/PostedFiles/HiddenLakeSuperSecretShortcut.kmz

    Waypoint for the campsite: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/6710559/PostedFiles/HiddenLakeCampground.gpx

    Anyone else, please contact me if you need any more technical information about the trip or the Four Notch Loop trail.

    2 · January 27, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      Tom, you are the man! I posted the trip, but Tom really was instrumental in making this happen. He brought extra water to lighten everyone's pack loads, and he makes one mean latrine! Thank you, Tom!!!

      January 27, 2013

    • Mike C.

      Thanks Tom & Jennifer for hosting this event.

      1 · January 27, 2013

  • Blanca G.

    Have a great time guys!

    January 26, 2013

  • Fatima

    Dont leave without me

    January 26, 2013

  • Dave W.

    Saturday I will be at the Trailhead from 1:30 to 2:00 pm. At 2:00 I will take the easy 1 mile shortcut into Hidden Lake if anyone wants to join me.

    January 25, 2013

    • Lori

      I just noticed your name on the map I printed. Is that you? My friend and I are going to attempt the shortcut at around 12:30. I've studied the map but If we don't make it the mile in I guess we will see you come by at some point. :)

      January 26, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    Grab a cheap disposable poncho at Walmart, Academy, etc just in case.

    January 26, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    My number is[masked]-0936.com. i will not have receeption once there.

    January 26, 2013

  • Dave W.

    When you turn from FM 2296 onto Four Notch Road, check your odometer. It is 2.4 miles on Four Notch Road to FSR 213. THERE IS NO SIGN AT THE JUNCTION WITH FSR 213.

    January 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Dogs?? Leashed?

    January 25, 2013

    • Tom P.

      The national forest is dog friendly and there should be water at the lake or in Boswell Creek

      January 25, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      Dogs are welcome but do need to be on a leash

      January 25, 2013

  • David

    I'm trying to stuff all my gear into a bag I rented from REI - I'm having issues with the sleeping bag though. It's a rectangular style one, no matter how tightly I can manage to compress it, it doesn't seem to want to fit in the backpack. Is there a trick that Google isn't revealing to me?

    January 25, 2013

    • David

      Yah so I kinda figured it out - I basically did what Jan suggested and just crammed the thing in without rolling it ahead of time. It takes up at least 3/4's of the backpack but it's there - I just attached my tent and sleeping pad to the outside of the backpack.

      January 25, 2013

    • David

      All together my pack weighs about 40lb... Should be an interesting day

      January 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    So... I must have missed this- where are we all meeting?

    January 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    How much food do we need to bring? Just dinner for Saturday night and Sunday morning breakfast?

    January 25, 2013

    • Tom P.

      And a few snacks for lunch.

      January 25, 2013

  • Tom P.

    I have two, not to heavy, self inflating ground pads that I'll bring along if anyone needs a bit of cushioning at night. Just ask at the trail head.

    January 25, 2013

  • Jan B.

    I have to work this weekend so I will not be able to attend. I truly hope you will do another backpacking trip at another time. It' s one of my favorite outdoor activities and I would love to go.

    January 25, 2013

  • Tom P.

    BTW, my plan it to arrive around 8 AM to scout out the camp, do a water drop and a deliver a few tools to the camp for what is needed to accommodate such a large group. I would appreciate the help of anyone that wants to arrive early. We will either drive or walk back depending on the success of the NFS in unlocking the gates for me.

    January 24, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Do you still need help at 9am?

      January 25, 2013

    • Tom P.

      Sure Jennifer, see my email. Charlee, thanks for the offer. We may or may not need more help carrying a few things back, but I hate to say no to generous offers. Unfortunately there is no way to let you know in advance.

      January 25, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    Also, Ladies...if you have any feminine hygiene questions or concerns, please do not be embarrassed. Just message me privately, and I'll answer any questions you might have. Sorry, fellas, but this is a reality. :-)

    January 25, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    Remember to bring food, everyone. Tom is bringing some brats, and I'm bringing some hotdogs and tortillas, but we are not bringing enough for everyone. We all need to bring something. don't bring things that need paper plates. We probably want to bring napkins and foil since it takes up less space and is easy to pack out. Remember to bring a ziplock or something to pack your trash out in.

    January 25, 2013

  • Puja

    i am leaving from med center area at 9-9:30 am. Asa might be joining me, if he does I have room for one more person. if you want to carpool let me know. :-)

    January 24, 2013

    • Joe M.

      If Jennifer doesn't need it and still available. I'm interested. Let me know.

      January 24, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      Puja, you can give it to Joe. I'm fairly confident I can ride in with Tom or David.

      January 25, 2013

  • Jason C.

    Hey, I'll be leaving from montrose / westheimer area. If anyone wants a lift, lemme know. Probably take two others with gear. Also, just confirming, is the plan to meet at the map location above at 11am? Thanks, Jason.

    January 22, 2013

    • Ronit M.

      Well my car isn't too safe to drive at the moment, but if space clears up lemme know. Thanks, Ronit

      January 24, 2013

    • Boaz A.

      Thanks, see you in the morning.

      January 25, 2013

  • Mike C.

    FYI , Laura called the ranger today and he said there is water in Boswell Creek so we plan to take a little water and treat some. I don't know if we have a wet crossing or not need some feed back from someone who has been on this trail before.

    January 22, 2013

    • Tom P.

      Mike, we will camp quite close to Boswell Creek, 0.1 miles. It is up to you if you want to filter.

      January 24, 2013

    • Mike C.

      Mitch will carry a water purifier that is advertised to filter out chemicals we will see. My wife & I plan on carrying a 2 liter & 1 liter platypus each should be enough and some to share.

      January 25, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    I had a thought for dinner Saturday Night. If we all bring some hotdog supplies, that would be an easy dinner. Hotdogs are precooked, and if some of us freeze a couple of packs before hand, they'll be thawed and ready to go by dinner time. So some people can bring condiments, etc...relish, mustard, sour kraut, onions, can of chili, buns, ... What do you think? Then a few of us can hike the trash out.

    January 23, 2013

    • Lora

      No thanks for us. We are going to use this opportunity to experiment with cooking trail food over our tiny little backpacking stove! Like dehydrated mixes, etc. Found lots of good ideas for backpacking food on YouTube. Thanks!

      January 23, 2013

    • Tom P.

      I bought some Bratwurst today to cook for dinner. But I'll still bring a stove.

      January 24, 2013

  • Rhonda

    Hi this is the first time I am hiking. So excited!!! But can only do Sat. How many miles would just doing Sat? Also, would like to know what kind of shoes should I buy for this hike and other hikes this group does?

    January 23, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      I always recommend multisport or hybrid boots. They aren't fully leather and are lighter weight. They will get you through anything we do. They need minimal break in time. I wear Columbia's from Bass Pro Shops.

      January 23, 2013

    • Tom P.

      Rhonda, if you join us then leave before nightfall you would have to follow a marked trail back to the parking for 4 to 5 miles. There is a shorter unmarked trail, that can be used with an outdoors GPS loaded with the tracks for the trail.

      January 24, 2013

  • Ann Epstein V.

    i would really love to participate in this trip but am unable. do you have these "beginner" sessions often? i'd like to plan for the next one. thank you

    January 24, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      You can treat the Brazos camping as a backpacking thing. Just carry all of your stuff during the Saturday hike.

      1 · January 24, 2013

  • Joe M.

    Leaving from the west Pearland area if anyone wants to figure out a carpool.

    January 23, 2013

    • Karyn

      I so wish I could go - I am right in Webster!

      January 23, 2013

  • Mike C.

    Jennifer will we meet @ trailhead # 8 - 4 Notch Parking?

    January 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    LizO and myself will be meeting at the parking lot at 3:30pm on Saturday, and joining the main group at the campsite. If there are any others that are working Saturday morning and would like to join us, let me know so we can coordinate.

    January 22, 2013

    • Ronit M.

      Hey Riyad, I was wondering if your carpool was full? I also live in Tomball and was wondering if you had space

      January 22, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I don't have a carpool at the moment. We were just meeting at the parking lot at the beginning of the trail. So yes, I have plenty of space.

      January 22, 2013

  • Tom P.

    I have a two person tent and am willing to share with a non-snorer. I don't snore. Let me know. See everyone Saturday.

    January 22, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      I also have an enormous tent that 4 people could share very comfortably. You would want to split the poles between you all to lower the weight. He has only been used once, so please be gentle with him. :-)

      January 22, 2013

  • Amelia A.

    Please let me know when the next beginner backpacking and hike will be, as I am not prepared for this one. Thanks

    January 22, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      The Brazos Bend camping weekend can be treated as a backpacking event if you would like to try it out then.

      January 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm really looking forward to spending a night outdoors!!! I have a 3 person tent, so if you want to share it with me and my dog, let me know:) I can also bring a stove. Ques about timing. Meeting up there at 9AM seems a little early, and leaving Houston at 2PM seems a little late. Anyone interested in going sometime in the middle?

    January 20, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      See Boaz's comment about car pooling. Maybe you two can drive together or you can join me and Jo? I don't think we can fit 4+dog+packs in one car. My boy isn't a lap dog:)

      January 21, 2013

    • Shawky

      I’ll be working Saturday morning so I guess I’ll join Riyad . So plz go ahead and take Jo, Boaz and of course ur cute dog :) thx

      January 22, 2013

  • Mike C.

    Jennifer can you tell me @ what location will we be camping for the night? PM me @ [masked].
    Thanks

    January 22, 2013

  • Boaz A.

    As the trip is just a week away I see that 50 people are possibly going to attend. Can we setup a car pool list?
    I live at I10 and Wirt/Chimney Rock Rd. I am interested in car pooling with someone or they can car pool with me.
    To enjoy the outdoors we ALL need to do our bit to keep our planet healthy for future generations.

    January 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Car pooling is a great idea! I'm coming from west of there (Westheimer and 6) so you're on my way. If I drive, I can fit me and 2 others and my dog and put packs in the back of the wagon.

      January 20, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Looks like a couple people are wanting to carpool! Sure you can have a ride Jo, unless something else makes sense between you, me, Mo Amer, and Boaz. I'd like to drive so there's no worries about my dog, so I have room for Jo and one other...

      January 21, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    The start time for this event has been changed to 11am to try to be a little more convenient for some of our members.

    January 20, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Awesome, thanks!

      January 20, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    It looks like there will be a group of people who are going to just do the 10 mile loop on Saturday and not camp overnight...so if you can't camp, you still have that option.

    January 20, 2013

  • Richard

    My cousin and I cant do the camping this time but we would like to hike in with the group and back out on Sat. Let me know if there are any issue with that. Thanks

    January 20, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      No issue with that, Richard. See you there!

      January 20, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    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-advice/backpacking-checklist.html 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. You can fill the backpack with canned foods or weights to simulate the same weight you will carry while backpacking. Let me know if you have any questions! :-)

    January 8, 2013

    • Fatima

      Thanks. This helps. I am getting exited!!!

      1 · January 8, 2013

    • Matt

      Another thing to keep in mind is a food/bear bag to store your food in at night.

      January 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just wanted to post a link to the leave no trace website. There is a free training video if anyone wants to watch it. I thought it would be good since there may be several people here that aren't familiar http://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

    1 · January 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Fires? No fires?

    January 17, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      I have seen nothing on the sites that says we can't have a campfire.

      January 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Is there no extra RSVP for the camping part?

    January 15, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      Nope....once you go in, you're stuck with us. :-)

      1 · January 15, 2013

  • Mary

    Greetings, I'd also recommend that if you've never slept outside in the winter, get your stuff together early and try it the weekend before. The first time I slept outside when it was cold, we had to get up and go home. Fortunately, this was in preparation of a bigger trip, so it was a really good learning experience about what else I needed to bring. Also, maybe the ratings on sleeping bags are true for an average sized man, I found I have to add 20 degrees to them. When I finally did go on my bigger trip, because of that learning experience, I had a really good time. Backpacking is a lot of fun. You'll enjoy this trip.

    December 17, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Remember, folks, that heat escapes from the head. Wear something warm on your head while you sleep to add to your comfort.

      January 14, 2013

  • Elizabeth

    Hi! I am new but would like to join in your adventure. I have not been backpacking in a while but I bet my gear still works.

    January 11, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      Only one way to find out! :-)

      January 11, 2013

  • Heidi M.

    Jenifer, I really want to join you but I do not have any backpacking gear. from what I have read above, I can rent a back pack. I have a small tent, maybe you could provide a list of essentials to bring? I am so green.

    January 4, 2013

    • Fatima

      Hi Jennifer, has the back packing list posted? If it has, where is it? Thanks

      January 8, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      For a super serious list of things to take on an extended trip with fewer people, you can check out REI's list at http://www.rei.com/le...­. For this trip you will not need all of those items.

      January 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    What's the feeling on infants? I have wanted to try backpacking but have a 7mo old. I don't think 5 miles is too much, I've done 3 miles a couple times with him. But I definitely understand if you'd rather not have kids.

    December 16, 2012

    • Heidi M.

      Thanks Tom and Jenifer. I think you and all of the others have answered my questions as to the essentials to bring. Sounds like, anything non-perishable, freeze dried is good, just add water. I am still missing a sleeping bag for camping. any thoughts?

      January 4, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      If you can pack a winterr blanket in a stuff sack, that can get you by in a pinch.

      January 4, 2013

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