Yellow River Forest Backpacking
by wrestlencanoe

Trip Type: Hiking
Entry Date: 04/20/2013
Entry Point: Other
Exit Point: Other  
Number of Days: 2
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
With Spring arriving late this year I decided I couldn't wait for ideal weather conditions to get out somewhere and try out some new gear. So with the expected forecast of highs in the 40's and lows in the 30's, me and my youngest son were off to Yellow River State Forest for an over night backpacking trip.
Report
I get up Saturday morning, turn on the news and find out that it is 24degrees outside. No need to be in a hurry today so I make some waffles and eggs for breakfast figuring we will be burning quite a few calories today. By 9:00 we are loaded up and head down the road. Its only 1.5 hour drive to YRSF and the drive is scenic through the rolling hills of North East Iowa. I park the vehicle at a picnic area by Paint Creek, get the packs on and prepare for our late morning hike. The plan is to head up the Larkin Valley Horse Trail, connect with Bluff Trail and the loop back to the vehicle on the Paint Creek Trail. Here is a map of the trails http://www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/forestry/YRSF/YRSFPCTM.pdf

I’m guessing the loop is only about 4 or 5 miles and about a ½ mile in Ryan tells me that his feet are starting to hurt. OK, his hikers are 3 years old and probably 2 sizes too small but he did manage to put them on last night and he thought they would be fine. I should have anticipated this and tell him we should go back to the vehicle and change his shoes. He insist on continuing and says he will change them later. I agree and we proceed.
We continue on and see some really tall pines and a great scenic overlook before heading back down.

Back at the vehicle Ryan takes his boots off to find a blister on each heal. I give him some band aids and he puts on his tennis shoes. We decide to do a little trout fishing instead of another hiking loop to give his feet a break. We manage to catch a few and keep one to sample this evening.

Its late afternoon and we decide we should get camp set up so we proceed over to the pack in sites on Heffern's Hill and find we have our pick of the 3 sites.The rest of the afternoon is spent gathering firewood and trying out the Nomad wood stove that I had the metals shop at the the high school make for me. It worked great.

The evening was spent around the campfire eating the trout and backpackers pantry beef stroganoff. Both were delicious but I must say the fish was really good.

The next day we slept in waiting for the rain/sleet/snow to stop and then packed up and headed over to the Irish Shanti in Gunder before heading home.

All in all a great little trip. Gear Review- I will give the nomad wood stove a thumbs up. I also like the GSI kettle that I recently purchased. The Sierra Designs Trade Winds down bags that I got for Christmas kept us warm and comfortable.