[masked]: Just returned from Hocking Hills and the weather was so great and the hiking so beautiful and the people so friendly that I don’t know how I’m supposed to wait another month for this event. And it’s amazing how quickly it filled up so far in advance. As much as I would love to have everyone with an interest in this event to join us, the area is simply not big enough to accommodate a larger group than the current RSVP limits allow for. However, if you are still on the waiting list, please check back often as people always cancel last minute, and we do this trip every year, so just jump on next year’s event as soon as it’s posted, which will actually be soon after I return from this one. (and of course change your RSVP ASAP if you can no longer attend)
But the real reason I’m updating this event is that someone finally called me back. Here are the facts:
There are 17 sites at Seaton Creek, 8 people per site, but only 2 cars per site. The first night is car camping, so unlike Hocking Hills, bring as much heavy stuff that first night as you like. However, I’m not sure about electricity now that I think about it, and if you have more than 2 cars, you must park them at the trail head parking lot and pay $5 a night (which we will all do for the second night, while we are backpack camping).
It’s not mandatory that you take Friday off, but the sooner you can arrive and claim a campsite, the better. And the more people you can stuff in your car, the better. It would be great to see as many people as possible drive up 3 or 4 per vehicle. And please try to share tents to, because we’ll want to squeeze as many people as possible on each site we reserve.
Even though it is a “non-reserve, first come, first serve” campground, I’m still working on reserving a few sites next to each other though the very nice ranger I talked to at length with today. Still, there will be no guarantees.
I’m personally looking for a carpool to leave as early as possible on Friday morning to get up there and reserve with our stuff as many sites as possible, but it would be pretty hard for just three of us to lay claim to 6 or 7 sites, so who else can arrive early? If anyone on the waiting list can leave very early, that would be a way to get bumped into the event, because we need early people (especially ones who live near Ferndale, who will also stay for kayaking).
And finally, the group rate for the kayaking around 1 or 2PM on Sunday will be 22 for a kayak, and 30 for a double kayak or canoe. I won’t ask anyone to decide on that until we have a better idea about the weather.
[masked] Carpooling update: I created a basic spreadsheet for drivers to find passengers here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0At8lfvufoBK9dFRFRGxtQUtTb3E3WTFYa01mbkY0aUE&usp=sharing
If you would like to offer to drive at least one other person, but hopefully two or three, please fill out your name and other info in the spreadsheet. People looking for rides will then contact you and write their names under your name. In order to encourage more drivers, I will STRONGLY recommend that passengers pay the majority (or all) of the gas cost.
I see no reason why the beginner and the advanced groups can't use the same carpool sheet. What really matters is location, and the time the driver wants to leave and return. Let’s work out all the details in advance so all we need to worry about closer to the day is what to pack and how much fun we’re going to have.
As far as food goes, I encourage sharing whenever possible, but everyone should pack for herself. Not everyone will need his own water purifier (can get by without ever using one in fact), stove, or first aid. But if you have them, bring them.
Update[masked]: Because I'm no longer doing Asia for 6 weeks I can push back the trip a few weeks in order to ensure better whether for kayaking. I can't imagine how that could change anyone's plans this early on but, if you are one of the few awesome people who have already paid and can't make the new date, I'll happily refund your money (if you let me know by Feb 15th), and apologize to you. But on this official "cold day" where the windchill is -22, I can't wait to hike and sweat and kayak with all of you in a few months. As far away as it sounds, the Boyne trip is in two days, and I posted that a year in advance as well. Time flies when your life is full of adventure!
I’ll admit I didn’t know much about the area when I planned my first big backpacking trip in Manistee, but I do now. And I enjoyed it enough that I’m planning the 2014 event just a few days after returning from my first one so that my knowledge and enthusiasm is fresh. I’m also planning two official trips at the same time that intersect each other so that there is no confusion about how far people want to hike and what their experience level is. As a bonus (or human experiment) I’ll charge only $5 to RSVP for the first 9 months, or until 10 people RSVP. After that, it will cost $10 to RSVP. Needless to say, the people who go will be subsidized by those who don’t, and that’s really the only subsidies I encourage. I hope to see you there.
Here is the breakdown for both versions of the trip to compare:
Advanced: Friday, 0 to 6 miles; Saturday, 16 to 18 miles; Sunday, 5 to 7 miles and kayaking
Beginner/Intermediate: Friday, 0 miles; Saturday, 5 to 7 miles; Sunday 5 to 7 miles and kayaking
Friday: arrive at Seaton Creek Campground (already paid for by our deposit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/hmnf/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=18880&actid=29 ) as early as possible for maximum enjoyment. Or, if you want to make it a two day trip, simply show up Saturday at Red Bridge (http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5373964.pdf), some time before 1PM, and you may chose to set up camp there as well.
Saturday: if you camped at Seaton Creek, you are free to lounge around and take a short hike to the waterfall or do whatever you feel like, but it’s important to meet up with the rest of the group at Red Bridge by 1PM to meet up with the rest of the group, where you can refill water, eat lunch, and swim. We will then all hike 5 or 6 miles to camps 7 and 6 (depending on how many of us there are and how far we want to go) to spend the night.
Sunday: while the advanced group hikes back to Seaton Creek, you will hike back to Red Bridge and drive to Wilderness Canoe (http://wildernesscanoetripsonline.com/) by 1PM. Depending on how many people RSVP and with how much money, I can probably secure a group rate of just $12 or so a kayak for either the 2hr or 5hr tour. Last year it was too cold to kayak and we weren’t prepared, but I will be ready in 2014 no matter what.
There will be many practice hikes and information meetings before this hike, but here are some things to consider; absolutely anyone, with a little practice and decent gear, can do this trip. You will need wool socks, comfortable shoes/hiking boots, the ability to carry a 30 to 40 pound pack at least 3 hours at a time, a tent (or share), and some basic backing gear that you can either borrow or share.