Friday, April 2, 2021

Not good at traveling anymore


 Camel called me from the trailhead. "Bring microspikes," he advised. A man in his group had been traversing ice and fell, breaking his leg. "Also, I'm standing in the forest freezing," he added. Previously he had enthused how light his pack was, saying he had really few clothes along due to the projected heat.

I stared at my pack. An overnighter or even a local backpacking trip, I'm good with. I keep stuff in a tote and can pack in minutes. There are a few additions; in Hells Canyon you always pack tecnu, for example. There are things I always camp with, including a puffy coat, a rain jacket even if the forecast calls for sun, and a buff, useful for pinch hitting as a hat, for an impromptu top, or a towel. But with projected hot temperatures and with being farther away, I was somehow incapable of packing.

It wasn't always this way. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I section hiked the PCT over 8 years. This involved multiple flights, changing weather conditions and different needs for gear. I got pretty good at shakedowns and taking only what I needed. Now, after over a year of not traveling to hike, not so much.

I agonized, performing what my friend Ken calls panic packing. This involves confidently packing, then second guessing and unpacking. Repeat. There is nothing worse than being out for several days and not having something essential (ask Flash, who hiked Section A of the PCT with me in a time when it was supposed to be warm. She bought gloves in Mount Laguna). I've also panicked and overpacked, which is known as carrying your fears (ask Flash; on that same section I had rushed to REI to buy leggings, never mind that I already had a pair of long underwear. They'll get sweaty if I hike in them and then I won't be able to sleep warmly! I rationalized. Sweat was the least of our worries on that section).

Finally I had to give up and just go with it. However, at my destination I still pondered. Do I need a floppy sun hat? Collapsible bucket? Do I have too much food?

So yes, I am bad at traveling to hike now. And yes, I did travel. This is the only place I'll really talk about it for now since traveling invites plenty of judgment. But I'm staying safe, will quarantine after, and this is much needed.

I'll let you know if my panic packing was successful in a few days! And the picture up top is another reason I am bad at traveling. I can't stand to leave her!


11 comments:

  1. The worst part is wanting affirmation so you ask your friends.

    Friend 1 - you'll be fine, no worries.
    Friend 2 - you're packing your fears, you need to dump xyz.
    Friend 3 - you're gonna die, pack everything you might need.

    Back to packing, repacking, rethinking, repeating . . .

    Can't wait to hear about your much needed and well deserved getaway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, that is true--I am probably Friend 1 most of the time.

      Delete
  2. Have a great trip! I'm planning another bikepack trip in the Utah desert next week, and I'm also stumped on packing. It's been a while since I had to plan a real "summer" overnight with a need for lots of sunscreen and electrolytes and water. But I still want my warm things, because, well ... it's what I know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you brought the right stuff! It was blazing hot, way more than I anticipated.

      Delete
  3. It must be so much harder to decide when you have to carry it on your back but I go through the same process even if only overnighting with a friend! Enjoy the open spaces that I iagine are ahead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you--it was great! yes you tend to cull when you have to carry it.

      Delete
  4. I do this too, especially when I hike with my toddler! Like what if he pukes on everything? Now I bring so many layers!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would be an over packer! I take more than I need all the time...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never used to be but now I am. I am not sure why?

      Delete
  6. I'm late to the comment thread, so I hope it was a good trip! Yes, if you are doing outdoor things it's easy to comply with COVID restrictions. Can't wait to hear about your latest adventure.

    ReplyDelete

Hello out there. If you liked this post, please leave a comment so I keep writing!