Summer is just around the corner, and the 2023 PasstoPass trips are approaching fast. You do not want your PasstoPass trip to be your first hike of the year. You want to get ready by going on hikes and assessing your physical condition. It would be even better if you can go on backpacking trips. The benefits are not only that it assesses your condition, but it serves as an opportunity to check all your essential gear and reminds you of good camping practices.

Last weekend, George and I joined Linda and her husband, Brian, on their Chelan Shoreline Trail for a two-night backpacking trip. We were first greeted with gorgeous, sunny weather. We looked for good shade to take breaks in and sipped water to stay hydrated.

Then the first test came in the late afternoon: as soon as we put our tents up, a thunderstorm hit us. Everyone quickly packed and moved their gear to inside tents or under vestibules. However, strong wind combined with pouring rain and thunder was more than we anticipated. I was able to keep most of the important gear dry but ended up with two big puddles of water on my tent floor. After I drained water from my tent and ground tarp, I retightened my tent’s guy lines so that my rain fly could sustain better against gusty winds. I also dug a shallow trench around my tent to keep water away. I moved my boots closer to the tent under the vestibule and covered my backpack with a rain cover before putting it under the vestibule. The second test came after we went to bed: another thunderstorm came at midnight, and the rain did not stop until 3AM. This time, my setup worked perfectly. All my essential gear and I stayed dry.

On the second day, we were challenged with stronger winds, so we chose to put our tents under a shelter instead of on the lake shore with its magnificent views.

After completing approximately 17 miles and around 4,000 ft of total elevation gain, we treated ourselves to a bacon cheeseburger at Stehekin restaurant.

Looking back at this trip, the first trip of the season is always special. It prepared me for the upcoming trips. For example, I have dealt with thunderstorms multiple times in the past, but I still neglected to dig a shallow trench around my tent because I was exhausted from the heat and my laziness kicked in. And one of the guy lines was not tightened because I did not double check. What I could have done was ask one of the members to check my setup. So, I will be asking trip partners to check my setup. Also, worth mentioning that I had a few new findings. I brought fresh food (one Hass avocado, one pint of cherry tomatoes, and one Fuji apple); they stayed fresh and were very delicious. I have brought apples in past trips, but this was the first try for avocado and tomatoes.

I highly recommend all members to go out and backpack before your trip. If you can’t get out for a backpacking trip, even just pitch your tent in the back yard and sleep in it, and cook a meal with your cooking stove, is going to better prepare you. You don’t want to be using your gear for the first time on the trail. You don’t want to be stuck with a broken gear on the trail. (George’s cooking stove igniter broke on the second day.) And you sure don’t want to be stuck with freeze-dried meals that you do not like. You can try different freeze-dried brands and their meals to find the one you like.
This trip was so much fun and I want to do this again next year.

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