Great class! Wanted to share this with everyone. I bought one of the backpacks at REI after our class, and tonight, found last year's model (same brand, same size-just the 2012 closeout model) for $120 less on the REI Outlet website. Free shipping and I can return the one I bought and put that money toward more gear! If you haven't already done so, you may want to check out the outlet page of REI. :)
2 · March 7
There are a few things we forgot to mention in today's class. We are all very passionate about backpacking. Once you get a few miles away from civilization and cell phone signals, the pure wilderness that surrounds you will refresh your soul. Nothing compares to taking as little as possible with you to the woods for a few days and leaving everything else behind. You will form a bond with people you backpack with that is like no other. You will witness things you'll never forget - like having a buck follow alongside your group in the snow heading up the trail or watching the sunrise over the valley below while the clouds dance across the lake.
Don't let the prices of the brand new top of the line equipment scare you out of trying backpacking for the first time. It is ok to spend less to get more gear to start out. There are several websites you can buy or rent equipment from in addition to REI, especially if they are out of the gear you need. www.rentstuff.com and www.geartrade.com are just a few.
4 · March 3
The presenters, Lisa, Steve, Kerry and REI employees were well-prepared. The class was well-paced and supported with handouts. We were introduced to various types of gear(clothing, tents, sleeping bags and pads, stoves, camp food, etc.) Our teachers included information on stretches and exercises that would strengthen specific muscles used in hiking. What a good idea. I would hike with them anytime. Well-done! I love Lisa's philosophy that hiking shouldn't have to be so fast that you miss the sights because you're looking at your feet the whole time. I feel the same way!
3 · March 3