First True Backpacking Trip

If you have been reading my blog you know I love to hike. I have also wanted to do a true backpacking trip. I have done several hikes where I would camp at a campsite then drive or walk to the trailhead from the campsite. But, I have not done a true backpacking trip. That is until a few weeks ago.


It started with being pretty crazy at work for the few weeks prior to the trip. I think it was on a Thursday, I messaged my friend from Arkansas and asked her well, I really said PLEASE, tell me you are going hiking this weekend I need to get away. She messaged me back and said she was actually going on a backpacking trip by Lake Ouachita in Arkansas! YES!! I was so in!

On my Way!


I packed a little that Friday night. I got up at 4 am Saturday to finish packing, get ready, and to head out. I was so excited to be going on this trip. I met Mara at a gas station. She led me to the trailhead that we would be coming out at. We then loaded her gear, her dog, and her in my Jeep and headed to the trailhead that we would begin our hike at.


When we go to the trailhead, we started to unload our gear and get ready to go. Now, Mara backpacks all the time. But, she was such a good friend and helped me with some trouble I was having with getting my pack right. That is a true friendship there! 😉


We then set out on the trail. The first part of the trail was flooded so we had to go around. The trail was so pretty. It is also a bike trail so, we had to stay aware and listen for the bikes. I also liked that I didn’t see any trash along the trail. We hiked awhile until we came to this peninsula by Lake Ouachita. We set up camp on this peninsula. We cooked dinner, ate, talked, and got ready for bed. The view on this peninsula was breathtaking.


The next morning, we broke camp and set out. It did sprinkle on us a little and we feared that it would start raining. The rain, for the most part, did hold off. I loved the nature around me. It was so quiet, beautiful, and still. We came out on a road that we had to cross to finish the 4 miles up the mountain. Mara asked if I wanted to go to the little store right up the road first. I said yes. Here is why I said yes, my lungs were on fire! I have asthma but it is mild and I hardly ever have to use my inhaler. So, I left it in my car. I know stupid! I did remember my two Epi-Pens. I am also highly allergic to wasps, bees, and other flying insects. We rested and ate a little at the store. She asked if I thought I could finish. The last four miles of the trail were pretty much straight up the mountain. I breathed in and with a sigh I said I don’t think so. I was sad to say that but, I knew I had to listen to my body. We hiked a little way to where my Jeep was parked. We loaded our gear and her sweet dog up and I took her back to where we stopped on the trail. We said our goodbyes and she finished the trail with her faithful dog. I, on the other hand, took my inhaler and headed back to Louisiana.


I was upset with myself for a little while for not being able to finish. I also was proud of myself for doing what I did. For backpacking for the first time and for pushing myself as far as I did. Will I do it again…. YES!! It was an experience like no other. I am also thankful for my sweet friend Mara for allowing me to tag along! Till next time, Happy Wandering! ❤

Heather Smith


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