My sister and I along with my 9 year old nephew chose this as our first ever overnight backpack trip. Let me just say my nephew is not your average 9 year old. I only have 1 backpacking pack so I was carrying 30+ lbs while my sister and nephew just carried regular backpacks. I could hardly keep up with a 9 year old! We started in on the Halliday trail in the afternoon on Friday of labor day weekend, it was hot and theres a pretty good climb getting to the junction! Its only about 4.5 miles however which is the reason I chose this for a few rookies.
We planned to camp at the junction with the north fork and red bluff but arrived earlier than expected and decided to continue on the north fork Sullivan trail as there isn't water at the campsite/junction. We made it to the marsh and found easy access to water from the creek on the opposite side of the trail. We were losing daylight and weren't sure how far the next campsite would be so decided to hike back to the junction with red bluff trail to camp. We were hoping to reach the wilderness boundary but didnt want to be hiking after dark.
My nephew got pretty spooked after seeing this rather large skeleton on the side of the trail so that approximately 1 mile back to the campsite was undoubtedly the fastest mile of our trip!
We made it back to the junction with enough water and daylight to setup camp and make dinner. We sat around a small fire and ate dinner in the dark. I had checked in with the ranger station earlier in the week and was surprised to find out that fires were permitted in the national forest. This provided a great opportunity to teach my nephew about the responsibility and extreme caution that is required when having a fire in the backcountry. Bugs were not a problem whatsoever until after dark when we had the lantern on. It was a warm night with no rain in the forecast so we didnt even bother with the cover on our tent.
I woke up early and headed down the red bluff trail as I knew from reading a previous report that water wasnt too far. When I returned with full water bottles my travel companions had awoken and were ready for breakfast. After breakfast we packed up and headed out the red bluff trail where we had left a shuttle car. It took us about 3.5 hours to get out while periodically stopping along the way to pick a few huckleberries. The berries were few and far between.
This was a beautiful (if you prefer hiking in the trees) and relatively easy one night trip. Trail conditions were excellent due to the recent work that has been completed. We didnt see any other hikers on Friday or Saturday of labor day weekend which I thought was a bit surprising. All in all a great trip and we are already talking about our next one!