I recently upgraded some of my backpacking gear and wanted to test it out from the safety of car camping, before taking it on an actual backpacking trip. I decided I would take my almost 16 year old son and his friend camping. And hopefully we could fit in a hike or two as well.
Four years ago, my son and I camped at Russell Pond Campground. I knew it had plenty of sites with trees perfect for hammock camping, so that’s where we headed. The boys had a tent that they would share, and I would test out my new hammock, top quilt, and tarp updates. It’s also nicely located, as well as having a nice pond, plenty of amenities without being a glamping type of campground.
With all of our stuff for car camping (and two teen boys that are MUCH taller than I am), I knew we wouldn’t comfortably fit in my MINI Cooper, so I rented an SUV.
Picked up the car, packed up the car, and off we went. First stop the grocery store for road snacks. We didn’t really need meals since I don’t have non-backpacking camp kitchen equipment, I planned to have lunches and dinners in town. Wait, actual first stop was Dunkin Donuts so we could have a “proper” breakfast. Ha!
We arrived at the campground early afternoon. Reserved spots were all reserved, but they’ve increased the number of first come, first served spots. Since it was a Wednesday, I wasn’t too concerned. I was right. We drove around the loops and managed to get the spot NEXT to the spot we camped in last time, nice and close to the pond. I set up my hammock while the boys set up their tent. There were some amazing mushrooms right in our tentsite.
The boys headed over to the pond for some fishing, while I read a book and napped a bit in my hammock.
We headed into Lincoln, NH for dinner at One Love Brewery. Back to camp for smores over the fire. Then to bed. My new gear was great. I wasn’t cold and I was comfortable. The boys seemed to have been okay as we all “slept in” to around 8. We got up, made breakfast over my backpacking stoves, packed up camp, and headed to the trailhead.
We were off to hike Mt. Pemigewasset. You may recall I attempted Mt. Pemi once before. Having two very tall teen boys with you makes it a lot easier to walk through those sketchy tunnels. Plus I wasn’t at all concerned about any sketchy people nearby either. It’s a fairly unremarkable hike. Short, not too steep. Easy parking and close proximity to the highway all mean it’s a bit … touristy. Very crowded on the summit with lots of people lacking in trail etiquette (throwing rocks, throwing food, playing music on a speaker). But it does have a nice view. And the wind picked up which seemed to send everyone packing.
- Total distance: 3.6 miles
- Total elevation gained: 1,250 feet
- Total time: 2 hours, 51 minutes