Beginning Backpacking, Shades State Park, IN

Participants: Susy Price, Sandy Hicks, Marvin Pribble, Wendy Brinson and Bob Hart (leader)

This trip was held at the backcountry camping area within Shades Sate Park. The purpose of the trip was to provide an elementary overnight backpacking experience (or refresher) for new people in CIWC.

The group met on Saturday morning at the parking lot closest to the trail head leading to the “Backpack Camp”. The first order of business was to do some light day hiking on other park trails to get acquainted and see some of the parks features, as well as look at Sugar Creek. Back at the parking area we found a nearby picnic table and had some demonstrations regarding water treatment options. Those props would be left in the back of the truck because we knew that there would be potable water at the campsite.

After lunch we split up group gear and group food and hoisted up our backpacks in order to begin our 2.5 to 3 mile hike to the backcountry camping site. It was a leisurely hike with some picture-taking along
the way. At the backcountry area we found and occupied the last two campsites. The weekend weather was predicted to be dry, so many other campers were back there. Our campsites were perfect, being close to the water spigot and the primitive toilets. The first order of business at the campsites (per CIWC protocol) was to pitch tents.

Shortly after that, we had a welcome visitor (club president Dave Hoffmeyer) who packed in our firewood. There was a policy mixup at the gatehouse and we were told that firewood would no longer be delivered to the backcountry, as had been past practice. Dave went way beyond the call of duty and we were greatly in his debt. (We found out later that this mix up was resolved and fixed by park management).

During the late afternoon and before supper there was time for rest and or exploring the backcountry area, which included a trip to the canoe campsite on the edge of Sugar Creek. The supper plan was to
make individual pizzas which (by design) required group participation. All went well and the pizzas were customized to each camper’s preference.

After supper we demonstrated how to hang food from a tree and had the traditional campfire, and of course, with campfire stories. Then, it was off to bed.

In the morning we had our breakfast, packed up and hiked out. Then Bob, Sandy and Susy went to lunch in a civilized setting at the Turkey Run Inn. All in all it was a great trip.

Leave a Reply