Monday, July 16, 2012

Shenandoah Corbin Cabin Adventure

This last weekend, my Brother, Father and Myself had a fantastic little backpacking trip in Shenandoah National Park.

We spent one night roughing it in the back country (after an 8+ mile hike!) and the second at Corbin Cabin. Just how wiped out were we that first night? All three of us slept 12 hours!

Corbin Cabin was really impressive. It's a primitive cabin, so there's no running water or electricity. But, it's in great shape and stocked with all sorts of useful things - from candles to spices. The second day had a bit of rain and thunder in the distance, so the fact that we were in a cabin was especially nice.

The real mission of the trip was to do some fishing. Alas, the weather has been really dry so the main river was really low on water. We did find a couple of pools we could fish, and my dad showed off his serious skills by actually catching a fish each day. Still, it was plenty of fun just trying.

One highlight of the trip was the food. We had pancakes for lunch on Saturday. We realized we forgot the syrup, but made up for it by hand picking raspberries and mixing them in. It was heavenly. For the second batch of pancakes, we were out of berries, so we mixed in gorp. It totally worked. The blue M&M's that I dropped in did turn the pancakes green'ish blue, but that totally added to the effect.

For Saturday evening, I wanted to try a technique I had seen on YouTube (which I can't find the link for now!), baking muffins on a stove. It works like this: you fill your pot half way with rocks. You then line the rest of the pot with tin foil. You then mix up a just-add-water muffin mix and pour it into the pot. We put the pot on the cabin's wood burning stove and waited. About 40 minutes later, to my shock and amazement, we had a perfectly cooked cake. The rocks apparently keep the bottom from getting too hot and burning.

I wanted to maximize my time in the woods, so I spent both nights sleeping outside. The first night was dry, so my little shelter was more or less for decoration. The second night, we had a fair amount of wind and rain, and my shelter (again, to my amazement) held up well. It was nice knowing that I could have fled to a tent/cabin if my setup had gone South.

Sunday morning, at 5:20am I heard a loud crunching noise next to my shelter. I tried to convince myself it was nothing, and then I heard another crunch of breaking branches, only this time, closer. I got out of bed, and sure enough, 10 yards away was a deer, trampling through the woods. Whew.

What a trip! One thing I've got to say about backpacking: you definitely pack a lot of adventure into a short span of time. Everything from cooking meals to going the bathroom has the opportunity to be memorable!

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