We may have started off the trip with a little bit of ďguess which side of the metro Iím onĒ and a short tour of the Vienna area. But once we all were on the same side, six of us piled into two cars and made our way out to Otter Creek where we were meeting Katie and Jen at the trailhead. Our route for the first day was an easy one: a steady climb up the Mylius Trail and then an easy descent down to Otter Creek for our first of two crossings. Now Otter Creek does not lend itself to easy rock-hopping: nine times out of ten youíll be wading in water up to your knees. Fortunately, the creek wasnít that high, and our intrepid troop gamely strapped on their water shoes and waded across -- and we even had a bit of an assembly line to help Sally and Moo, our two four-legged friends for the weekend, cross the river.
Stream crossing number one down, we headed along the Otter Creek trail and enjoyed the waterworks before hitting our second stream crossing. By now, we were pros -- and Sally and Moo found a good way, courtesy of Rachel, to get across the creek. We rolled into camp around 3 p.m. -- a lovely spot along Otter Creek -- and promptly set up our tents. And then we got to work on the fire. Fortunately, a previous camper left a stockpile of wood for us so we had a good base. Even more fortunate was a conveniently shaped tree that would help us break the larger pieces of wood. Less fortunate was the lack of a video camera to capture what happens when three women try to break a log in the tree (letís just say they land on their backsides but still get a very nice log for the fire).
Having a good chunk of time at camp was a great way for our group, most of whom were applicants, to get to know each other a little better. And we listened in envy to the meals that Katie and Jen had the night before -- and that morning -- at the Purple Fiddle. In what may be a DC UL first, Jen brought a burrito (with chorizo!) for dinner and quickly found a handy stick to serve as tongs so she could heat it up. I wonít lie: I was jealous, and I had Texas State Fair Chili for dinner.
The mood around the campfire -- a nice, roaring one thanks to a firestarter and Allison and Tiffanyís careful feeding of the fire -- was merry. We had a mini chocolate tasting (it was womenís weekend, after all) and passed around some wine. Another big thank you goes to Tiffany for bringing Catchphrase to play around the campsite. Thanks to the game, we managed to stay up until backpacker midnight (aka 9:30 p.m.), and then turned in for the night.
The next day was an early start with a 6 a.m. wake-up call. We were on the trail by 7:30 a.m. Sundayís route was a longer one -- roughly 12 miles back to the cars but we eased into the day by continuing our stroll along Otter Creek before hitting our climb back up to the ridge. The pace was a relaxed one for the day as people talked and enjoyed the walk along the ridge that took us from rhododendrons to stands of evergreens before descending back down to our cars.
A good backpacking trip always deserves a good meal at the end, and the Alpine Inn was just four miles away and calling our names. Katie and Misun may have won the best food order -- hot roast beef and french fries covered in gravy -- but Allisonís salad with fries and pepperoni was a close winner.
So thatís the story of DC ULís first womenís backpacking trip. Itís hard to capture the great sense of camaraderie and general fun we had together. And sorry guys, there are some bonuses to not having you around... bonuses that Iíll not share. But all in all, it was a wonderful group of strong outdoorswomen on the trail and a wonderful weekend. We'll definitely do another one soon.
And a big congratulations goes to Tiffany, Misun, Melissa, Rachel, and Jen for moving from applicant status to member status.
Nice trip report, Jen! Glad you got that fire started! ;) Was any lighter fluid used?
Girl power = awesome!
I'm trying to get some friends involved and I think the Women's Backpack is a great idea.
@Michael -- Nope, no lighter fluid. Just pure female power (and a firestarter...)
@Kevin -- Thanks! I hope to get another trip on the calendar soon. Just trying to find a good window in my schedule, but definitely send your friends my way if they have any questions.