WILDERNESS STORIES, Part 1: Preparation

When a partner exclaims, “Let’s go camping!” the reaction can vary tremendously. Some become wide-eyed cats clawing to avoid a bath while others leap with glee into hiking boots and backpack. I tend toward the latter but only after exuberant mental preparation. My whiny wimp voice that delights in alarming us all by announcing the lack of toilet facilities or the proximity of mountain lions is silenced by my love for Thoreau, Robinson Crusoe, and s’mores. I turn full focus on daydreams of wildflowers, clear mountain streams, and bears (seen peacefully from afar) until ready to jump into the car.

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We pass on campgrounds with noses in the air. If you want to sleep outdoors within walking distance of a shower and neighbors, a backyard will suffice. Trust me—secluded, remote wilderness is well worth it. You become the last two people on earth, concerned only with catching fish and recovering from the staggering beauty of stars seen in clear sky. That said, if your interest is piqued then I am responsible for warning you about the packing process.

There are two types of people: those who pack and those who can’t. I can’t. I round up some portable food because snacking is a personal obligation, but besides that I mostly frolic around the house imagining the Walden-ish notes that will fill my brown leather travel notebook and encouraging my boyfriend to pack faster. I’m overwhelmed otherwise. There’s just too much to think about. Preparing to survive comfortably in the middle of nowhere is impossible for the inexperienced backpacker. I have no doubt hundreds detest camping due to some nightmarish experience involving inadequate or inappropriate supplies. Let’s not go into detail on what to bring. It’ll be too exhausting simply typing it out. Let’s just say my boyfriend is a natural at packing. The apartment briefly resembles a tornado’s playground but he manages to get everything into two neat backpacks. Permanent superhero status.

A few of my favorite things:

My notebook. Obviously.

Water purifier. Drink icy cold mountain spring water and live forever beautiful!

Super warm four season tent (Not to be confused with Four Seasons. This is not Troop Beverly Hills.)

My Swiss Army knife. I have an actual book on whittling but all I seem to manage is a pointy stick.

My new orange backpack and matching fishing pole. Makes me legit.

Our last trip took us from Los Angeles to the Sierra National Forest. Stay tuned for details in the next installment.

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