backpack: Siouxon Creek + hike on Lower Siouxon Trail
On Memorial Day weekend, I led a two day backpacking trip with Meetup friends to Siouxon Creek. Since all of us are either new or returning to backpacking, the Siouxon Creek trail is an easy one for practicing our skills. We got an early 7:00 am start to make sure we would score a good campsite on a holiday weekend.
The effort paid off, because we set out from the trailhead at 9:00 am, hiked in 2.5 miles, and arrived at a relatively isolated campsite next to the creek. This site provided room for four tents, a campfire ring, and several logs to sit on. It was a beautiful spot next to the creek and a large area of exposed river rock and surrounded by mossy trees and a lush undergrowth of ferns. We setup our tents and had a bit of lunch before heading off on a short day hike.
For our first day hike, we continued on the Siouxon trail for almost two miles to a section of wide slippery rock just before a bridge that crosses the creek, then headed back to camp, where we relaxed and cooked our dinners, enjoying the evening.
We spent a bit of time figuring out where to hang our food for the night. In a conifer forest, most of the trees are quite tall and don’t have side branches, so it took some work to find a suitable location. To hang the food, I used paracord and a small stuff sack filled with river rocks. Not being a good throw, my friend who has a history of pitching in softball made the throw in one shot. We hooked a carabiner to the rope, then hung my food bag and backpacking stove.
Everyone but me headed to bed pretty early since they brought books to read. I stayed up a bit longer before heading to my tent for the night. It was fairly cold, and I ended up having to sleep in four layers on top, three on bottom, and double socks to stay warm. I love my sleeping bag, but the temperature rating on it really isn’t low enough for nights like this. (note: after returning home, I ordered a new sleeping bag rated to 15 degrees)
I was up before everyone else, so I took my chair (my Alite Mayfly backpacking chair is my favorite luxury item!) down to the edge of the creek to make coffee and oatmeal and sit in solitude.
We decided to do a long day hike after breakfast, so we hiked back on the same trail we came in on, stopping along the way to admire Siouxon Falls and Horseshoe Creek Falls, taking side trails to explore further.
After passing the trailhead we hiked in from, we continued another 2.5 miles on the Lower Siouxon trail, a little-used section that doesn’t have views of the creek, and instead is a quiet hike through the forest.
We totaled 10 miles for the day, so back at camp, we were all tired and ready to relax. After dinner, we played several card games and laughed a lot. Once again, everyone headed to bed early to read, and I prepared to be cold again. However, the second night was much warmer so I was able to sleep better with fewer layers.
In the morning, I was once again the early riser, so I sat by the creek for awhile. After breakfast, we started the process of packing everything up to go. It was an easy 2.5 miles back to the car and the end of another great trip.