Coosa Backcountry Trail AAR

This weekend I decided to forgo a planned 10k, or the otherwise scheduled 7 mile long run (hopefully to be fit back in to the schedule today), to go on a backpacking overnighter with my son. We chose the Coosa Backcountry Trail, a 13 mile loop through the Chattahoochee National forest starting at Vogel State Park. Our intention was to hike in the less-treacherous counter clockwise direction as far as we could on day 1, hopefully around 6 miles, then hike back out the same way on day 2. The first 3 hours was mostly downhill – up 400 feet in the first hour, then down 800 feet over 2 hours (approx 1 mile/hour considering 7-year old legs, break schedule, and terrain). After lunch it was nothing but uphill, and steep. Looking at the map we realized that it was only going UP for the rest of the day, so we decided to backtrack to a really great camping site which we had already passed. The backtrack took over an hour, and we selected our campsite around 4:30 PM. Skipping forward, we were awakened at 1:30 AM by coyotes howling. Hopefully in the distance. @nd day was short, due to the backtrack, so we drove to the next town for lunch (just like last time) before heading home.

Learned lessons:
1) Old vintage backpack (1991 Lowe Alpine Outback 65) while perfectly adequate, and paid for, is starting to delaminate at the interior waterproof coating. Granulated rubbery sand-like substance sticks to everything. Now shopping for a new pack.
2) park ranger said there was “no water on the trail” that we should carry all we needed. I was hauling 8 lbs more than I thought had planned for, in water. Turned out there was plenty of water along the way.
3) Due to the pack weight, and possibly the more rugged terrain, I was considering more substantial hiking shoes/boots for next time. The lightweight crowd promotes approach shoes, or even trail runners. Jury is still out.
4) Who needs point and shoot camera when you have cellphone cam?
5) This one is from Jason: Looking at woods all day is getting kindof boring. Is there no open country hiking in this part of the country? (I was describing what village-to-village hiking in Switzerland was like – sounded “awesome” to him.)

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