When this posts, I will be on the last day of a four day hike in the Cranberry Wilderness in West Virginia, the trip that I left my clues about. I am up early Thursday to write this, but woke up early anyway, because I am excited about the trip.
Unlike my most recent backpacking trip to the Laurel Forks, where I went alone, I will be with a friend for this trip - but with a twist: he is bringing his seven year old daughter along. I am a little concerned because it is such a wild and rugged area, but his daughter loves this type of thing and he knows her best. It is good to get little kids out into nature, both boys and girls. So we just have to adjust the trip to her needs. For example, crossing an ice-cold stream that would be thigh-deep for us could come dangerously high on her. So while we have a general idea of where we want to hike, it is open to alterations. We may come to a stream that is cannot be safely crossed. The trails are unmarked there, so we have to be alert.
My friend said that we should go 6-10 miles a day. 10 seems high, so I think we will have breaks during the days at interesting places, and maybe make camp early. Even though my pack is too heavy - over 40 pounds with food and water - I am throwing in my binoculars because I think we will have some extra time to explore. I am debating adding a field guide - one more pound! I am saving a couple of pounds by taking my lighter weight sleeping bag. It might hit the mid-30's on Sunday at dawn there but with my liner, I should be just warm enough.
Well, I am packing up and heading out in a couple of hours, so will post this for Sunday and get moving! Right now, the weather looks pretty nice - highs in the 60's and lows around 40 with a significant chance of rain only on Friday - 50% chance of thunderstorms. We will be especially alert that day and make sure we can camp near cover.
Expect to read more about the Cranberry Wilderness later in the week.