Backpacking Blood Mountain – My First Backpacking Experience

Growing up I never went camping. My family never went on hikes, and generally only spent outdoor time at playgrounds, backyards, and ball fields. Once in a blue moon we would head to the beach, but never on a regular basis. I never really knew we were missing something. My mother recently has developed a new hobby of backpacking and has been sucking everyone in with her excitement. For her 60th birthday, we are planning a girls’ backpacking trip to Scotland and I can not wait. However, I need to practice before we go – thereby setting up the backstory for our first backpacking experience together. 


My Mom – My mother is always up for a challenge- especially if it is a physical challenge. Recently her new favorite hobby is perfect for her when looking for new physical challenges. She is often able to find new and more challenging hikes within a short drive from her home in South Carolina. It really has been so cool to see her pictures of her climbing mountains. It has been inspiring so when she asked me to join her on some of her hikes and a grand hike to Scotland I jumped at the chance. 


Cousin Carla – My cousin Carla just loves the outdoors. I imagine she has since she was a child. She is a natural at hiking and has such an appreciation for nature. I loved watching her showing me different plants, constellations, fire starters, and just enjoying the outdoors. She is a member of a hiking group in North Carolina and her experience shows. Even though she is older than my mother, you would definitely not know it watching her in the outdoors.  


The Experience – The first night we stayed at a hostel near Neely Gap. We hiked about 10 miles the first day to the top of Blood Mountain. Then the next day I left the trail early since I had a 6-hour drive ahead of me. I had a wonderful time out in the woods with these ladies. I was worried that I had packed too much, or wouldn’t be able to make it up the mountain with my pack (I had sprained my ankle six weeks earlier). But in the end, my pack was near perfect and I was able to keep up with my experienced guides. I learned a lot on the trail and talked to some really fantastic people. I didn’t mind sleeping on the ground – it wasn’t as bad as I thought! However my sleeping pad was noisy and I felt like I was keeping everyone awake all night. I look forward to my next trip and hope that it will be much longer than a quick weekend. 

In the end, I highly recommend Blood Mountain as a place to hike and camp. The hostel was great, the scenery perfect, and the hike was challenging but not awful. I  definitely hope that I not only can do some more trips and make it through Scotland, but I also hope to share the adventures with my children as well. We look forward to our first family camping trip later this year so stay tuned to see how we fair with children and maybe even a dog in tow.


Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she teaches at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

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