My first backpacking experience + our girls love camping + so sore & tired!

Jake took me and our girls on our first backpacking trip. Overall, we had the best time! The trail that we took to our camp spot was SO overgrown. That portion of the hike was miserable for everyone. Jake said he thought about turning us around a couple of times, which is very unlike Jake, so that’s how you know it was bad. We all handled it really well – there were no fights or tears, so that’s good ; ) By the time we got to our camp spot, we were so ready to be done. Once we got there, everything was perfect. The camp spot Jake had found was amazing, it was right by a creek with water for the girls and it was surrounded by trees. We had such a great time and we needed a little get-away. Here is everything that went into our packs (minus clothing). Huge thank yous to Jake’s dad and step-mom for letting us borrow their packs and Scottie and Brandi for letting us borrow their table and chairs. You guys are the best!

On our way out of town, we stopped by the house to drop off our new bike rack and I had these goodies in the mail from Jordan! Thank you, Jordan! I am blessed with the most amazing people in my life. I love these and cannot wait to wear them. Love you, girlfriend!

We stopped to get gas on our way out of town…look at Rhea. HA!

Ready for our adventure!!

We hiked to Arrington Creek, which is off of the Buffalo River Trail, between Boxley and Ponca. It was about a 2 hour drive to the trail head where we started, and then a 3.5 mile hike to the camp spot. 2 miles of the trail were SO overgrown that we decided even though the hike was an out and back, we would rather hike on the road than get back on the bad section, so that is what we did on Wednesday to get back to the car. That was the best decision ever! Here we are getting ready to start! Lu was excited.

Thank you to Alex for my pre-hike refreshment. She brought back from hard kombucha from California and shared with me. It’s delicious!

Fake smiles on this portion of the trail…I’m not kidding. We were all miserable. Well, all the humans were miserable. The dogs loved every second.

Jake carried Lu for 2 miles because she kept getting into thorns and burs. I have no clue how he carried a 40+ pound pack, a 13 pound dog, and never fell or complained. He’s Superman. I sure do love these 3!

Her poor face…I spent an hour getting these off of her once we got a fire going at camp. She was so grateful. She kept turning around to give me kisses, haha!

Here’s where we camped! How gorgeous is this?

Jake set up our tent and I set up our table and chairs. Jake always goes above and beyond to make sure I have a good time camping – if you’ve followed along for awhile, you know it hasn’t been my favorite thing. We have done some pretty hot camping and that is miserable. BUT, I am here to say that I actually enjoyed camping Tuesday night AND asked Jake when we can go again. I’m not sure how I feel about backpacking…it was fun, but I am SO dang sore and it was kind of scary carrying all of your gear on your back while hiking some sketchy areas, but I do think I’d like to go again…only when it’s cold out and the hike isn’t too long. Our 3.5 miles both days was a good amount for me! At least for my first time. (See, Jake? I’m not saying no!)

The girls (and Jake) loved having this creek right by us. It was freezing, so I didn’t get in it, but Jake took a mini bath and the girls ran around in the water and played.

More beautiful views.

Jake made a fire and kept it going until we went to bed. It was so nice to just sit around a fire and relax. I had no phone service, so I couldn’t check email or do anything with my classes, which was nice. I usually respond to all my students within 2-3 hours, but they know I will always get to them within 24. I had exactly 24 hours away from email and it was wonderful.

Here’s what we did for dinner! A backpacker meal of chicken fried rice (which was outstanding). We also added a package of ramen to our dinner – yum! We picked up a couple of ice cream sandwiches because I had always wanted to try them – Jake teased me about this, but they were actually really good! We shared one and that was more than enough because they’re really rich.

Loving our get-away!

Dinner was SO good.


A little wine with our fire.

Our fire died down around 9PM, so we crawled into the tent. The girls were pretty quick to take over our sleeping bags.

I think Rhea smiled the entire time. She would live outside if we’d let her. See Lu behind Jake’s legs? HA! Her little head.

We have the best girls.

This is may be my favorite picture from our trip. Jake got up to make a fire and coffee for us. Lu was cold, so didn’t want to go outside, but she also didn’t want to miss anything. She stared at Jake the entire time he was out there.

My man – making coffee. The best sight.

Thank you to this handsome guy for always making things fun.

The girls getting in a little relaxing before we hit the trails again.

Bundled up and sipping coffee by the fire.

We had oatmeal for breakfast and it was super tasty. It was chilly when we woke up, so a fire was definitely necessary.

One last picture of our tent before Jake put her away. He bought this tent when we started dating to try to get me to like camping. It never worked…well, until now! It may have taken three years, but I had the best time Tuesday and Wednesday.

Headed back to the car! Since we didn’t want to deal with that super overgrown area again, we had 1.5 miles on trail and then 2 miles on the road/gravel before we got back to the car. This hike was great!

We were STARVING after our hike, so we stopped at Ozark Cafe in Jasper and Jake got us WAY too much food – burgers, fried pickles, and curly fries. We had a lot leftover, but each thing was incredible.

This burger was phenomenal. I got caught up with all my emails and a little work on the drive home, which was nice.

We got home, brushed the girls, showered with them – Jake took Rhea in our guest bathroom and I took Lu in our master – I don’t think either of them enjoyed that. After everyone was showered, we crawled into bed and passed out. Jake got up after an hour to help a friend with something, but the girls and I slept for another hour. I was so worn out! When I finally got up, I was crazy sore. I felt like I had run a marathon. I spent some time unpacking our packs, doing laundry, and vacuuming, then Jake and I grabbed a quick dinner at La Paloma. I had their shrimp tacos, which were delicious. After dinner, we crawled into bed and passed out again. Jake had picked up a shift at work, so he went into work at midnight. I legit don’t know how he does that…

We really did have the best time on our little get-away! I am still super sore, so we will see how my run goes later…the girls are worn out. They have been sleeping 24/7 since we got back. That’s how you know it was a good trip!

Happy Friday Eve, friends!


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