It’s that time of year: time for me to co-lead another women’s intro to backpacking workshop for GMC.  I love helping folks gain confidence to get outdoors!  Last year, we went south on the trail, but this year we decided to showcase a northern section of the Long Trail.  It’s hard to find loop hikes, but I find them more interesting than out-and-back hikes, and logistically easier than setting up a car shuttle with a large group.  By using a side trail and some dirt road walking, we were able to put together a short loop around Laraway Mountain, staying at Corliss Camp, where I just stayed last month.

We started at the Codding Hollow Road trailhead and went north on the Long Trail.  It was sprinkling when we started, but the rain soon stopped.  Since it was almost lunch time, we didn’t make it far before finding a reasonably wide spot to sit in on the trail and eat lunch.  After that, it was neat for everyone to see the rock cliffs dripping where the ice columns form in winter.  We took a break at Laraway Lookout, finding a nearby geocache while we were there, and then continued over Laraway Mountain at 2790′ and on down the Long Trail to Corliss Camp after 4.9 miles.

There was already a group set up in the shelter so we dispersed in the woods to set up our tents.  It’s good practice anyway, and many people had new tents to try out.  It was sort of sprinkling off and on again at this point, but by the time everyone was set up and we all got water, the rain had mostly stopped and we all cooked dinner at the picnic table outside the shelter.

After dinner, we toured everyone’s tents to see the different models, and then we had fun having everyone practice throwing a line in a tree to hang a bear bag.  It was early to bed after that, before the rain came down in earnest.

I woke up early and it was raining so I hung out in my tent a little longer than usual, expecting everyone else to stay in their tents.  But when I came out to check on people, they were already cooking breakfast in the rain.  Nothing fazed these women!  Once everyone packed up, we headed out down the Davis Neighborhood Trail.

The 1.5-mile trail ended on the other side of Codding Hollow Road.  It doesn’t look like the road connects on the map, but it’s actually a four-wheeler trail in the middle so we were able to walk a few miles back to where we’d parked.  Another great weekend in the books!