Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wilderness Survival

Though I did plenty of camping as a child with my family, as I've grown to adulthood I haven't been much for outdoor activity. I now take a bit more after my father in not being too physically adventurous, though I had a good role model of outdoorsy-ness in my mother who spent the better part of her youth backpacking, back-country skiing, teaching my uncles to gut fish and doing all manner of other completely awesome superwoman-esque things. But not me, at least not recently. So you can imagine that when my husband announced about 6 months ago that he would like to get back into backpacking, I didn't jump at the opportunity. In fact, I put it off as long as possible. But that ended this weekend.

We decided (relatively last minute, as we tend to do) that this was going to be the weekend. This meant that Saturday was dedicated to preparations. We made a final trip to R.E.I. for last minute supplies, though it was hard to imagine we needed anything as backpacking paraphenalia has been trickling into our house constantly for the last 6 months. (Mr. LIOLI shares with his father a certain tendency towards being a serial hobbiest and insisting that one must have all the proper gear for each said hobby. Where do we put all these accoutrements, you ask? An excellent question.) Anyway, we did still need a few things: food (freeze-dried in little pouches...weird, but cool!), hiking boots for me, Dr. Bonner's all-purpose soap, an extra water bottle, etc. Barely avoiding the post-game Red-Sox T-riders, we headed home to pack up.

We headed out directly after church the next morning and I must admit, I wan't the most pleasant travel companion. I wasn't excited at all and in fact was a bit nervous. Carrying everything I needed to survive on my back just didn't sound like that good of an idea. (Sidenote: I should be honest. When all was said and done my pack weighed in at only 20 lbs. My beloved's came in at just under 50. So I should rephrase that last sentence to read: "Carrying some of the stuff I needed to survive on my back and relying on Mr. LIOLI to carry the rest didn't sound like that good of an idea.") Anyway, I didn't think it was going to be any fun, and had visions (which I described to Mr. LIOLI in detail in the car the whole way there) of all the suffering and misery that would probably occur. What if my pack was too heavy? What if I got a blister? What if we got attacked by a bear? Or worse an axe-murdered (I've been watching too many Criminal Mind reruns, I can tell.)? Or what if we got lost? Mr. L had responses for everything unfortunately. He doesn't seem to have forgotten anything from his boyscouting days, though that was more than a decade ago.

Anyway, (and I can admit this because I am self-actualized and trained in self-reflection), as it turned out, I was wrong. It was totally awesome. The hike was amazing, through varied and beautiful terrain with plenty of ups and downs but not too much climbing. We saw redwood forests and birches and maples, meadows and beaver ponds and swamps and old rock walls, huge Indian caves and abandoned settler's dwellings. And it was actually really fun to be packing things in and out: like we were really surviving! (I should also admit that all the gadgets which I had mercilessly mocked for months--what the hell do you need THAT for--did really contribute in a huge way to the lightness of our packs the pleasantness of the journey.) Roxy the wonderdog had a great time and was a good travel companion. She even carried her own gear in a dog backpack (Thanks, Crandall!).

We camped the night at "Roaring Brook Tentsites" which should be renamed, "Stagnant Creek Tentsites" given the waterlevel at this time of summer (though we were able to filter our water there...just not take a dip!). But the tent sites were big and flat and we had plenty of privacy (only one other couple was staying there, about 100 yards away.) We set up camp, cooked our dinner over the propane stove, had hot chocolate for dessert and then went to bed as soon as the sun went down. Though we were awoken by some crazy animal noises in the middle of the night (sounds we're not used to living in the middle of a huge metropolis!), we did okay overall. We hiked out the next morning and headed back to MA for some showers and a long afternoon nap.

And that was it. Survival. Everything we needed on our backs. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me. I'm now totally up for round 2 this weekend. I'll let you know if I can convince Mr. L. (to whom I owe great thanks for again convincing me that new things can be fun!). Maybe I'll even call Mom to ask for some advice. :)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds beautiful! How long was your hike in? Was it just the two of you? Backpacking is hard work, but what a cool experience. We went once, and I hope someday we get to go again! Gotta get in shape for that stuff though!