Written by Penelope Bontempi
Hi everyone my name is Penelope, and this is my blog on how I started hiking and about me! I love hiking alot. I really love hiking because I like spending time with my dad and I like exploring. I started hiking in the middle of winter by snowshoeing in December.I really loved snowshoeing and so did my dad. So then my dad started talking about hiking and we did some family hikes with my dad, brother and my mom. Then my dad started talking about backpacking and he wanted to do it, so he asked me about it. I thought really hard if I wanted to do it and then I said “yes”. After a while we bought a lot of gear and then we signed up for the WNY hiking challenge. The morning of the trip we made sure we had everything and headed off. We got there and walked down the road a bit, we got to the start at the parking lot and we were getting ready to start our first backpacking trip.
No one told us we had to walk up three ski hills to the trail! We were walking for a little while about the first hour or so and it was just hilly then it started to get better and flat. After about two hours of hiking we stopped for lunch. We had brought sandwiches and we drank water with them. The trails were pretty cool. We saw lots of moss and rocks. The moss was as soft as a blanket. We also discovered things. I think that our favorite part was the pines.
The pines were really cool, the ground was soft and the breeze felt really nice! When we were leaving the pines we saw a group of bicyclists. I think there were about thirty people there with bikes. Then after the pines there was another pretty hilly part,we went all the way up and down and then we were getting pretty close to the Little Rock City where we needed to be. After a lot of creek crossings we made it to Little Rock City, it was so cool. There were so many big and funky shaped rocks. When we were there we took some really cool photos and that’s where the challenge landmark was! Then we hiked about another mile and we made it to camp! I helped my dad put up the tent and we made a fire and cooked some mac and cheese in our jet boil. I was not really sure how I was going to like it, but honestly it was really good. When the sun set we headed to bed. I didn’t know what to expect sleeping in a tent. I know that I have slept in a tent once before when I was a baby, and it was not that great so we upgraded to a camper. Sleeping in the tent was not very good because it was a cold night and I didn’t get the best sleep.
The next morning was not that good. We had been hiking and I was not doing that well. I was tired and I did not feel that well but I pushed through and I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see my dad’s truck in my whole life!
Overall I had fun and that’s all that matters. I would definitely do it again! Me and my dad plan to do quite a few more backpacking trips this year. I know that I will be able to finish the Ultra Challenge this year. I always say you can’t start something you won’t finish!
I shared my gear list below. My pack weighed about 10 lbs without the two waters that I carried.
- Fjallraven Kajka Jr backpack
- Kelty Mistral 20 Youth Sleeping Bag
- Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad
- Klymit Luxe Camping Pillow
- Ascend Cook Pot