Thursday, August 30, 2012

10 Things I've Learned on the Trail

Well, I'm not entirely sure that I have even a single reader that backpacks.  I wouldn't even call myself a "backpacker" at this point.  I mean, we've done it...yet, not that many times.  But none the less, I feel as though we've learned a whole lot and so here, for your reading pleasure, is a serious and not so serious list of the top 10 things I've learned about backpacking.  Enjoy. :)

10.  Food.  Food is key.  There is a fine line between grubbin' good and not carrying a whole Thanksgiving meal with you in your pack.  Hot meals are key though.  Things like chicken fajitas are delish and if you ask me totally worth carrying the couple of cans of chicken (I've yet to find the chicken in the tuna...I know they exist but cannot find them ANYWHERE!)  Oh, and carrying beer was heavy and yet SO worth it and the end of a long day on the trail.  hahaha.  My father would be proud.

9.  You snack a heck of a lot less than you think you will. 

8. A chair.  I want a chair.  Seriously.  A hard log by day 5 is killer on the back and the butt.  I want THIS CHAIR to be exact.  It's light...and expensive.  But totally worth it.  I was having dreams of
beautiful back support by the end of the trip.

7. I am hopelessly and completely...totally irrationally, no...TERRIFIED of mountain lions.  How about bears you ask?  Nope.  They don't freak me out...not at all really.  Bears don't EAT PEOPLE.  Grizzly bears do but since we don't live in grizzly country we're good.  I knew that I had a fear of them before.  I went on a night ride mountain biking once and being that I was the slowest downhiller in the group I started having visions of a mountain lion picking me off since I was seemingly the "weak one" at the back of the pack.  Then after a few backpacking trips that left me frantically searching in the dark looking for those freaky reflecting cat eyes...just looking to pounce on it's prey (that would be me) sealed the deal.  It's official.  They freak me out.

6. This relates to #7.  Always hang your bear bags in the EVENING when it's light out.  The first night we did it late when it was dark.  We were far from the campfire in the pitch black with a headlamp that was flickering in and out.  If you don't know, hanging bear bags can be a long process as you have to find a branch that's high enough, tie a rock to a rope and throw it over.  A lot easier said than done.  Being it was dark it took forever!  And I was FREAK.ING OUT X 10.  I made Jason promise me that we would hang the rope before dark.

5.  This also relates to #7.  I thought that I would be into hammock backpacking (you string a backpacking hammock and sleep in that instead of a tent).  It's lighter and seems super cool.  Then I realized how much I don't like the night.  It's stupid but I feel safe when I'm in the tent.  As if an animal can't slash right through that thin tent wall?  But maybe if I'm really quiet it will just walk by and not know I'm there?  Maybe?  Then the thought of me being in a hammock all exposed just became a  I want my tent, my walls, my false sense of security!  :) 

4. Sleeping mat.  Let's talk about the sleeping mat.  PAY THE MONEY FOR COMFORT.  Just do it!  Especially if you are a scrawny boney girl/guy.  You will hate yourself if you don't.  I hated myself this last trip.  Side sleepers especially!!!  I want THIS MAT!  I will get it...when it's on sale that is :)  Oh wait!  It's on sale now!  Fancy that!


3. Never store your baggy of koolaid next to your baggy of coffee.  Turns out flavors transfer through ziplocs.  Our koolaid water had a weird dirty coffee taste and it took me a day or so to figure out what was happening.  yuck.  I preferred the bleach taste to the coffee hinted koolaid by the end.  blak.

2. There are about 521 ways to start a campfire.  We've done them all.  Good ole' Jason and his mad survival skills.  :)

1. If you see smoke...and you smell smoke....there's a fire.  Don't keep thinking, "oh, it must be a campfire" when you haven't SEEN A SOUL in 3 days.  Yeah.  Good times.

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