I am about to embark on the craziest journey ever. Oh, but not just one! I’ve committed to two journeys in the next year. The first is an epic backpack trip of 100 miles in Newfoundland. The second is another epic backpack trip along the Lost Coast of California. They are epic and crazy because I don’t like backpacking. I’m a nervous woman, and my feet…are finicky. They bruise and blister. They don’t like shoes. I absolutely hate the pack! I hate the sweat, the tears. Hills. I hate hills. Walking with 30 lbs. on my back. Hate that. And the food. Dehydrated powdered meals. Baggies of nuts. Bleh. Sleeping in the dirt? Not a fan. There are so many, many reasons. But the main issue is the bathroom. There are no toilets on a backpack trip. Just let that one sit with you for a moment. I’m not complaining about lack of flush toilets. I’m talking about no toilets. Once you fully digest the lack of toilet, then not having a shower will seem like a breeze.
So why go at all? If I’m going to whine about everything and hate everything. Why go?
Because. Backpacking is also exhilarating in a way that can’t be expressed until I’ve finished a trip. I get to see places beautiful beyond words. Backpacking is about making goals and reaching them. There is no choice. Once I’m out there, I gotta get back to the car! I’m always amazed at what I am able to accomplish when it’s all over. I may be tired and stinky, but as I walk back to my ride, I’m celebrating, cheering on the inside. And, did you know? Weight loss and fitness are natural byproducts of backpacking. Bonus! Overcoming the minor discomforts of backpacking allows me to put everyday life into perspective. It’s an emotional cleanse. I feel like I can do anything. That’s the thing about backpacking. It teaches me how to go through difficult times and come out of the woods with grace and dignity.
And that’s why I love backpacking.
Follow me as I chronicle the training and preparation for these journeys, and a few others I take along the way. You can laugh with me as I attempt to appreciate the beauty of being in nature while wearing a backpack. And laugh with me some more as I attempt to push harder, go longer in a training session. Maybe you’ll see me as goofy. Maybe you’ll see the courage it takes to get up and go try something new, something difficult I’d never imagined doing before. Either way, let’s laugh. The Universe is a jokester. Let’s see what She has in store for me. Because the truth is I am a slightly overweight, moderately unfit, forty-something year old woman who enjoys clean sheets and hot showers, loves red wine and chocolate cake, and quietly reading in a comfy chair, a stream of sunshine lighting the page, with modern-day bathroom facilities nearby. This whole 100-mile journey thing ought to be good.
The hardest part of anything is getting started. Here we go!