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I’m getting excited and anxious and nervous for this backpacking trip. It’s in less than a month! And since David and I are true procrastinators through and through… there’s still a lot to do. Gear to buy. Hotel stays (before and after the trip) to book. Sigh. But even when I’m stressing out about the trip, I’m looking forward to it.

I realize I keep touching on the subject of this trip, but I’ve never fully disclosed the details to you all. We’re going to change that right now.

When is our trip?
The backpacking portion of our trip is September 19 through September 22. We’re taking a day or so to get there and about 5 days to get back (so we can travel some more). All in all the trip will be about a week and a half, but only 4 of those days will be dedicated entirely to backpacking.

Where is it at?
David and I will meet our guide and the rest of the travelers at the REI store in Fairfax, Virginia. From there, they’ll drive us to Shenandoah National Park, which is about an hour and a half away. Once we get back to Fairfax from our backpacking trip, we’ll continue exploring the region as we head back home. As of now, we plan to visit Charleston, South Carolina (love love love this city) and Knoxville, Tennessee (been to the state before, but not this city). It’ll be a lengthy trip (I’m taking a week and a half off from work — yowza!), but I’m hoping we’ll have a fantastic time.

Why do I want to go on a backpacking trip?
I was looking for a new goal to reach for. I enjoy camping, being active, and the outdoors. Backpacking seemed like it’d be a good fit. Once David and I learn the basics about how to do it, then it’ll provide more options for future vacations.

Why did I choose to go on a guided trip through REI?
Because I’m new to backpacking, I wanted some guidance. Plus, the idea of planning a trip where I didn’t know all I needed to do seemed daunting. David and I checked out what REI and Backwoods had to offer. REI was less expensive of the two. (Backwoods was about double the price if I remember correctly.)

How much of an investment is it to go on this trip?
I’m going to fully disclose prices on here (as you’ve seen in a handful of other posts) so you’ll have an idea of the monetary investment involved if you want to go on this same backpacking trip sometime. For the 4-day, 3-night trip to Shenandoah National Park, it cost us $555 a person. Typically, it’s more than that (’bout $600 a person), but we got a discount because we’re both REI members. The REI membership is only $20 a person and it’s a lifetime membership, so we’ll never have to pay $20 again for it — yet we’re still saving $45 per person, and that’s just on this trip! On this particular trip, they also provide all the meals and the tents we’ll need. So I’d say it’s a pretty good deal. :)

What am I excited for?

  • Trying something new.
  • The scenery. We’re hoping to be there when the leaves change color for fall. Wouldn’t that be beautiful?! And take a look at this gorgeousness that REI has posted from a past Shenandoah National Park trip.

  • Figuring out if I can do this. I’d like to travel to other national parks if this goes well.
  • Being outside for 4 days.
  • Traveling more after our backpacking trip. This getaway is around our wedding anniversary (September 25), so we thought why not make the most of it?

What am I worried about?

  • Going to the bathroom in the great outdoors. I’m assuming there won’t be any outhouses. It’ll be more of a tree-hugging/squatting/digging with a trowel experience. You’re welcome for that image. Ha!
  • Carrying my pack successfully for 4 days. I don’t want to be too exhausted — that would put a damper on the trip.
  • Sleeping well each night. I’m hoping I’ll be so tired, I’ll pass out with no problem no matter what. I don’t want to get claustrophobic again.
  • The food. I have no idea what we’re going to eat and I’m not sure I want to ask before we get there. I don’t want to dread it. I’d rather show up and handle it all there instead. I’m hoping for something simple like peanut butter and something for one of the meals.
  • Not having enough energy to write down all that I can for blog posts. I want to document this trip to the best of my ability.

How are we training for this trip?
David and I have gone on several hikes on the dirt trails in Shawnee Mission Park, usually totaling about 5 to 6 miles each time. A couple of those times we’ve carried weight on our back — only about 20ish pounds so far. I think we need to be able to carry 30 to 40 pounds. Long ways to go in a short period of time. This is why I’m stressing…
We’ve made sure to break in our boots (we’ve found they didn’t need that much breaking in) and to go on little walks with Dexter around the neighborhood. Every walk we do can only help.

I’ll surely have more to tell you as the trip is quickly approaching, but do you have any questions for me about the trip?

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