Photo courtesy Thruhike98 at Flickr.
Dear Hiking Gear,
First off, I am sorry. Sorry that you’ve been stowed away in boxes on the upper shelf of my dark closet. I am sorry I separated you into “gear I normally use” and “spare gear” whose box lid I rarely open.
For instance. I love my Whisperlite white gas backpacking stove. But, I also like my Svea 123, the old brass workhorse whose coarse and noisy voice was a welcome wake-up on many memorable mornings.
Dear Whisperlite, I love you for your quiet voice. But, Svea, I respect you for your simplicity and reliability. Just because I boxed you doesn’t mean I don’t care. Don’t you remember when we walked down memory lane and I polished you with Brasso last summer? I know — I didn’t light you up, so the shine job doesn’t really count. But I still know you’re there; ready to rock should the Whisperlite fail…
Photo courtesy kc7fys at Flickr.
Yes, dear gear — I’ll still keep you. And if you doubt that, remember the old Kelty Tioga pack frame. You know the one. The pack bag is long gone, but I can’t part with the hardy aluminum skeleton. Sure, I’ll never find a replacement for the pack bag, but I’ve kept the frame safe and sound. Along with the Sierra tent, First Need water filter, and Svea stove.
Photo courtesy Simonov at Flickr.
Take heart, dear gear. Maybe we’ll all have a class reunion one day. And, yes, expect to see a Spork, some titanium cooking gear, and an ultralight backpack on the guest list.
Aislinn gives an interesting perspective about backpacking solo.
Is is somewhere in the Himalayas? The Canadian wilds, perhaps? Maybe even the dark land of — Mordor?! Wherever you think this wild wonder is, take ten minutes with your journal and pen and imagine you’ve been dropped off in this vast landscape. You have nothing but a knife and a short length of rope and a small container of water. You have five days to get to civilization or summon rescue. What would you do? What’s most important first — food? water? shelter? fire? Let your imagination roam with the exercise. Enjoy the challenge of trying to sort things out on paper, as opposed to actually being right there in the middle of it. What did you learn about yourself? What did you think and feel? What skills did you have? How did your exercise turn out?
As backpackers and hikers gear up for another season in the wild, it seemed appropriate to revisit this post.
Write in Front of Me
Photo courtesy Jim Dollar @ Flickr
Daniel Wood left journals from hikes he had taken. Among those pages I discovered this document. I testify it was written by him. He requested whoever discovered it would post it online for all Appalachian Trail hikers and backpackers.
A Backpacker’s Code
I realize that choosing to hike this trail is a fulfilling, but serious endeavor. In setting foot here, I choose to be responsible not just for myself, but for those I meet on the trail. While I may never find myself in such a situation, I owe it to myself and others to hike responsibly and stand ready to help another backpacker should the situation arise.
I realize that I am to be responsible to myself first, and self-reliant to the extent of my backpacking and camping skills. If I do not have the basic skills of the art I will seek out seminars…
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