Ok, so this post has nothing to do with me completing all the trails in the Smokies, but it is a milestone nonetheless. Duncan and I just got back from his first ever backpacking trip! He's 9 years old and we have done a LOT of car camping and hiking in the Smokies as a family, but he's never gone backpacking before.
I recently purchased a used backpack at a garage sale that fits him well, and Sarah and Laurel are out of town this week, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take to the trails. To break him in gently we picked a hike from Abram's Creek campground to Campsite #1 along the Cooper Road trail. The total distance is about 1.5 miles, and the trail is relatively flat, so it's perfect for a first backpack.
Campsite #1 is a nice big open site, with 3 different fire rings / tent areas, but we were the only ones there last night. Kingfisher Creek runs at the back of the site, and we set up our tent on the other side of the creek.
We explored, played in the creek, ate dinner, made Jiffy-Pop popcorn, and had a campfire. We enjoyed just sitting around and chatting for most of the evening until heading to bed around 10 pm.
This morning we got up and cooked breakfast - pancakes with powdered sugar.
After breakfast we packed up camp and got ready to head back.
On the way back we stopped at a spot on Abram's Creek for some swimming and exploring. The water was cold, but refreshing, and the creek is deep enough to enjoy swimming, but also shallow enough to climb on the rocks and relax.
While exploring we came to a rock and Duncan said "What's that?" I turned around and saw what I thought was a dead snake - then I moved toward it and it moved too! Turned out to be a young copperhead sunning himself on a rock. Glad I didn't sit on him!
We decided to make lunch there by the creek, so Duncan played while I cooked. Mac & cheese for him and tuna & crackers for me. Nothing like cooking lunch sitting on the bank of a creek in the Smokies!
After lunch we lazed around for a little while before packing up and heading the last little bit down the trail.
It was a great trip with my little buddy, and I have a feeling it will just be the first of MANY backpacking trips we'll take together. I think he had a good time and I know I did.
Til next time, happy hiking!