Round 1

You put a backpack on and walk until you find a nice place to camp for the night. Sound easy? Not so. Backpacking has proved to be as difficult as any other outdoor activity I've ever participated in, to include fly fishing.

While the number of resources available to put together a trip are plentiful, their is some skill required to put together the information.

For example, there are several types of government land that you can use for recreation. This includes but is not limited to National Parks, National Forests, Wilderness Areas, and Reclamation Land. There are also variants of these types of parks at the state level, and each one has its own pass and restrictions. These passes often overlap, allowing you to use one pass across the separate agencies. But the rules regarding camping and hiking often differ, and if you are not on top of your current location you can pass from one area into another without noticing.

For our first adventure my wife and I decided to get out for a one night out and back. At first we linked together a 6mi string of trails in Mt. Rainier. This was a great idea, but in May anything over 1500 feet around the mountain is covered in snow...not what my wife would consider a good time. Our second guess took us to the Olympic National Forest, Hood Canal. Here we found an amazing trail on

Lena Lake is a high mountain stream fed lake surrounded by rocky mountain peaks. What makes it great is that the hike to get to it is several miles long and covers gradually climbing terrain, making sure the trail and campsite doesn't get too crowded.

hitting one of the many switchbacks
The trail was well groomed and provided plenty of photo opportunities. Toward the top of the switchbacks we could hear the stream rushing down the draw and in between the boulders. After crossing several bridges we reached the lake.

lena lake
The campsites varied from large to small but all were pretty close to the lake. Several sites had metal fire rings and cooking grills. Being a shorter trail it wouldn't be much of a hassle to take up a few logs or even a chemical log at about 5lbs. I had brought my fly rod but as the water was high from spring snowmelt there were no suitable shore locations for fishing. I would recommend bringing a 6' spinning reel setup with some worms and bobber, the shore is too littered with submerged brush and trees to allow any spin baits or bottom fishing with dough bait. Even so I did manage to walk out onto a log and get my line wet. The only fish I was able to see the whole time was about 4" long. If only I had hiked my float tube in!

Evening was nice around the fire with some chicken and rice and a little blackberry wine. As the fires died and the lake quieted down we settled in for the night. Temps dropped down into the 30s and there was a light shower but all else went great. 

Overall the trip went amazing, something I don't read to often about first time backpacking trips. The best part is that we can always continue on from Lena Lake to either The Brothers or Upper Lena when we are ready for a more lengthy adventure. But for anyone just stepping out or getting back to it after a while away this trip is a must do. I couldn't recommend it highly enough.