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RMNP: Sandbeach Lake Backpacking Day 3

We agreed that another day in the backcountry would have been fun but heading out on Day 3 was OK, too. A note about the backpacking food for future reference:
  • Evening day 1: beer and GORP
  • Breakfast day 2: VIA instant coffee, instant oatmeal, pop tarts and aged gouda (yum!)
  • Lunch day 2: cheese whiz, summer sausage, crackers, dried fruit
  • Dinner day 2: freeze dried spaghetti with hot dogs (packed frozen), freeze dried apple crisp and hot chocolate
  • Breakfast day 3:VIA instant coffee, instant oatmeal and the rest of the gouda
  • Lunch day 3: peanut butter on flatbread
  • Snacks: GORP, beef jerky, beer (yes!), starburst, caramels, snickers, Kind bars, Crystal Light lemonade
Only Kenedy and I appreciated the cheese whiz which took up a lot of space in the bear canister. The hot dogs leaked juice everywhere as they thawed despite being double bagged. Freeze dried spaghetti is pretty good and the apple crisp is a definite repeat.  The beer was worth it for a short trip.  We added raisins and craisins to the oatmeal which was a very nice improvement.  Snickers melted a little but not too bad.  Pop tarts crumbled but were a delicious high calorie treat for the first morning.  In sum, we will skip the hot dogs and cheese whiz in favor of summer sausage and real cheese, more raisins and possible another round of Pop Tarts next time.  If possible, we will make the extra effort to carry cans of beer. Priorities!

Teamwork saves time. It's hard for little hands to push and smoosh and pack big things into small places.

We filtered just enough water for four downhill miles.

Everybody wanted to take a turn.  This is good learning for everyone!

After packing was nearly complete we found that a water bottle had gone MIA.  You can see that Kenedy and Tucker are being very helpful and searching every nook and cranny at camp to find our missing bottle.

Finally packs were on and we were off.  Back to civilization.

We laid out check points to track progress back down the trail: 1) steep downhill, 2) Hunter's Creek (above), 3) Hunter's Creek and Beaver Mill backcountry campsites, 4) a small pond, 5) Camper's Creek and Hole in the Wall backcountry campsites, 6) a fork in the trail, 7) steep downhill into the parking lot. 

We had a quick stop to apply 2nd Skin (sidenote:  Band-Aid blister gel guards work much better for sweaty, hiking feet than 2nd Skin; moleskin is still the ultimate blister remedy) and for lunch but eventually we made it back to the parking lot.

Being in the backcountry feels pretty amazing but coming out is equally fantastic.  New shoes, a shower and un-smooshed food offer a whole new perspective.