I have done some big hikes in some great places this year and have put down some decent milage, for me when it is time to work with getting new hikers out there it can be a personal struggle to adapt the trip to make sure they have fun. Like taking my mom on a twenty miler through Joshua Tree, ha-ha. But you wouldn’t run a marathon cold, nor would you take someone out for their first run and do a marathon, so it stands to reason that introduction to this past time should be easy and fun.
Well for the veteran community in Southern California Triple B Adventures is setting up an awesome program to help get them out on the trail and have fun doing it too! Triple B Adventures already does a great job hosting monthly car campouts as well as setting up hunting events like the Veterans Pheasant Hunt, or their annual fund raiser the Modern Mountain Man Rendezvous. When their CEO Bjorn and I were talking about this he made a great point about adding more Adventure to the A with backpacking trips. Bjorn himself is no stranger to the mountains, an avid hiker he is getting ready to clime Denali in Alaska. Among his many qualifications he is also a Wilderness First Responder, so he makes a great guide especially for getting new hikers on the trail.
So, with the right people in place, it was time to plan a trip, borrowing from the bike camping community this is like a S24O (Sub 24 hour Overnight) but the miles are much, much less. This is a benefit for new hikes, so they don’t get “trapped in the backcountry” for a couple days hating life. Another nice thing about short miles and time is it allows for learning with time to fix issues or if need be, suffering through will be less time.
With new hikers there needs to be the assumption that they might have new untested gear, borrowed gear or the wrong gear and that’s ok. TBA has enough loner gear to outfit the hikers and if people do bring gear that falls under my list above that’s ok because the relative short time on the trail will identify hot spots, discomfort, failure etc. but it wont end the trip. This is about learning and fun.
The location was just outside of Ramona CA for a couple reasons, we met at Kit Fox Outfitters, weighed packs, and picked up last minute gear. The hike was close so if we had any issues, we could be home in a short amount of time and so hikers tired from their first trip were not driving eight hours back from the sierras. While not the most amazing approach ever the first half of the hike was uphill on a fire road, the reason for the figure road is again if anyone’s fun meter was on zero or for a minor medical issue we could run down and get the safety truck and be back in town quickly. Also, it put us up on the ridge for sunset which was pretty cool.
Up on the ridge we had some great views of the valley and an adjacent canyon. Bjorn set up a legit charcutarie board for dinner and we relaxed watched the late sunset and hit the rack. I actually had one of my better night’s sleep on the trail too! The marine layer rolled in at some time and we were a little damp as we packed up and started our hike down to the canyon to the drainage and to the riverbed.
The rive was fortunately dry and we took a break before pushing up to the trail that paralleled the river for a quick hike back to the truck. The hike out was nice, it was an actual trail and a lot greener than the trip up the hill. The wild flowers where out and the relatively flat grade made for a good hike. We got to the truck and in fifteen minutes where back at Kit Fox Outfitters to hang out and enjoy the rest of our Sunday.