I fell in love with the idea of backpacking in 2017 when I was suffocating in a toxic relationship trying to find an escape.
Jessica (Dixie) from Homemade Wanderlust and her weekly Pacific Crest Trail thru hike video updates were the beacon calling me out of my turmoil – out of my depression. Watching her as she pushed her body and her mind along the 2600 mile trek from Mexico – through the highest mountain ranges in the country – all the way to the Canadian border gave me hope that I could endure the trek that lay ahead of me.
And it also gave me an insatiable thirst to hike through the High Sierras… wow.
And so began my quest to learn how to backpack. I’ve been avoiding it for two years now… but it’s time. I feel the pull. And the need to be completely immersed in wilderness is beginning to overpower my fear of all the things that could go horribly…
My two biggest fears?
- Being miles away from my getaway car.
- Pooping into a hole.
As I’m sitting here trying to be all zen and write, all I can hear is the annoying rumble of my neighbor revving up his crappy little S-10 over and over and OVER again – and I’m about to lose. My. shit.
Oh, and there’s also a stray cat yelling. OMG.
So, where were we?
The back country. Escaping the annoying neighbors. Yes.
And, this is why I have to go. Out into the woods is the only place where I can think. Where I can rest. Where I can rid myself of people who drive too slow or cut me off on the highway… blasting their music so loud that it vibrates my bones… Yelling “Livin’ on a Prayer” at the absolute highest volume while hiking at Ha Ha Tonka State Park.
Where it’s supposed to be QUIET.
Seriously – there was even a sign. I kid you not. And it said…
“Shut the F*&% up, dumb a$$!”
or… something like that.
So, as you can see, it’s pretty obvious that Katie has a rope around her torso pulling her further into the wild. And she probably should not ignore it.
Even though I’m scared. Even though I get lost using the gps trail app on my phone. Even though I’ve never used a compass… filtered my own water… hung a bear bag… carried a pack for any significant length of time… dug a cat hole… you should Google that, btw. It’s definitely NOT for cats.
And though it feels a little less legit, I will probably take my boyfriend with me. I know I should be brave enough to do it alone… but if I’m going to be devoured by a mountain lion… or trip and fall off a cliff to my demise… I need there to be a witness.
I blame this book for these specific fears. (great read, though – highly recommend)
Nevertheless, I have scheduled our trip, and I have less than two weeks to get ready. I am overwhelmed and spending way too much time Pinterest-ing all the backpacking things… spreadsheets and lists are flying everywhere… and my Amazon cart is full of things I will have to learn how to use, and even more things I probably don’t need.
Yet as the trip gets closer and closer, I find myself avoiding the prep work that’s necessary. Do I know the route we will take? No. Do I know where water sources are? No. Do I even know if there is a place to camp along the way… if we need to reserve it… what to do if it’s occupied? No. Solving these types of problems is too hard for my brain right now. So, instead, I’ll just pin all the exciting backpacking checklists and packing diagrams – and all the expensive gear I can’t afford – and avoid doing the things I actually need to do to get ready.
Like learn how to use the teeny tiny camp stove my boyfriend got me for Christmas.
Or learning how to open the multi tool without cutting my hand to shreds.
Yep. This is going to be fine.
Will I survive? Stay tuned, friends. Only time will tell.