First Backpacking Trip!

A couple weeks ago I headed out with some friends for my first ever backpacking trip.  We had snagged a permit for the Devils Thumb lake hike in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.  The hike to our camp spot was about 15 miles round trip.

I had never backpacked before but thanks to my Grandpa who bought me a backpacking backpack and a small, warm sleeping bag for Christmas, I am set for trips like these!

Gear: Kelty Redcloud 90 Pack. Inside the pack: Cabela’s XPG goose-down 20 degree sleeping bag, Air Rail 1.5 Women’s sleeping pad, Kelty Grand Mesa 2.0 Tent (4 lbs pack weight), 2 Types of Bug Spray, Sunscreen, Hand warmers, two types of gloves (thick and thin), Emergency poncho, Rain poncho, Light rain jacket, Northface fleece, Northface outer shell jacket, Hiking socks, Ski socks (for warmth at night), Couple pairs of underwear, two shirts, Zainey’s dog food, Baby wipes
Food: Chili Mac with Beef Freeze Dried Pack from Mountain House. These are available at REI and at Walmart!  This was really good.  You just add boiling water right to the packet and let it sit.  Honestly, I will absolutely use these again.  I was so skeptical but it was delicious and the meat tasted like I had just cooked it up. Multiple granola bars.  5 Seed Crackers with Peanut Butter.  Protein Oatmeal.  Mini Bagels.  Cup O Noodles minus the cup. Hot chocolate. Tea.  I also picked up a poptart & a meat & cheese stick at the gas station.  For the next trip I’m bringing pre-made PB&J’s, More crackers, More cheese and meat.  Once I hiked so many miles all I wanted was something substantial and the granola bars just didn’t cut it.  The bagels, crackers and PB&J were life savers. 

Our trip was for two days, one night.

We arrived at the trail head around 6:00 am on Saturday morning.  After meeting up and assembling all of our stuff and one last pee break in porta potties before we’d be peeing in the woods for two days, we set off.

The Hessie Trailhead is way too congested for my liking and even at 6am on a Saturday morning the trailhead was completely packed with cars – all the way down the street.  The hike starts from the 2wd trail head and we walked in for a while on the 4wd road until the end of it where you reach the bridge that splits the trails.  Once on that road, we walked for a while on gravel and rocks for what felt like a long while but probably wasn’t too long.  My least favorite hikes start on gravel roads and/or small rock roads.  So ugly and they get HOTTTTTT when its warm out.  Sorry for the negativity, but when you’re spoiled enough to live in Colorado you can be picky about stuff like this.


The hike in, once off the gravely crap, was pretty.  You pass the Diamond Lake split off but don’t head that way, instead you continue towards Jasper Lake and Devils Thumb.   Jasper Lake was mostly drained for some reason, but I assume it looks very pretty in the winter and I will definitely want to head back with my snow shoes when the snow rolls around.

On our way past Jasper Lake we passed several fields of wildflowers, streams and gorgeous views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. It really is a beautiful area once you get out of the congestion.


Once we reached Devils Thumb Lake we looked for a camp spot.  We had four tents to put up and wanted to be next to each other.  We opted for a spot out of the trees because it was a little cold up there when in the shade and when in the sun it felt absolutely amazing.

My new backpacking tent was great!  You can put the fly on snug, take the fly off completely or pull it back for amazing views and to let some air in while still being semi-covered.  It’s a 2 person and easily fits me and the Zainers.  We had a beautiful view from our tent 🙂

After we set up camp we decided to take some naps and then head out to explore.  It was still early in the day and the weather was great.  We hiked up to the pass and were treated to beautiful views!!!


We got back and made dinner, filtered some water (Thanks, Scott!) & just hung out for a bit before being so exhausted we were ready for bed early.  I curled up in my tent with Zainey and read my book with my headlight as a lamp until I fell asleep.

Scott using his water filter to filter water directly from the lake. 

That night it got really, really cold and I was cold in my tent.  Zainey was also cold.  In the future, I have to remember just how cold it gets at higher elevation.  I’m guessing it was around 35 – 40 degrees.  When inside my sleeping bag I’m very warm, but my head out of my sleeping bag was freezing!!! I also need to accumulate a sleeping bag for Zainey and a backpacking pillow for myself.

The next morning we woke up, ate breakfast, packed up and headed out.  I opted to hike back out to the car by myself with Zainey because I was not feeling very good.  The others decided to take the long loop back over and down the pass to Kings Lake and then loop around back to the Hessie Trailhead.  The area we were in was heavily trafficked so I was not alone on my hike back as I was passing people every half hour or so. We made it back to the car in under 3 hours.  It was a gorgeous day & a solid backpacking trip.  I always love camping, but I was sure ready for a shower 🙂

1 thought on “First Backpacking Trip!

  1. Beautiful! Looks like such a wonderful adventure. Makes me want to go hiking right now!

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