The Backpacking Trip That Didn’t Happen
A while back I decided to visit Walden Pond. Not because it is wonderful wilderness and not because of Thoreau. I was going to be in Boston anyway, and Walden Pond and Thoreau are historical curiosities to me – nothing more and nothing less.
For the uninitiated, Walden Pond was the locale for the Transcendentalist Philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s experiment in self-reliance. The pond itself is not significant, but for me it ended up being quite pleasant and relaxing.
And what an adventure it was
But before I share the adventure, clarification is needed. This was not our last camping trip of the year; it was the last trip with the boat. Joyce and I are like nomads, most of the time allowing the seasons to dictate where we will camp. Winters find us in the deserts. As winter turns to spring we mix it up; camping in both mountains and deserts. Summers are mostly spent in the mountains; and as summer turns into fall, we return mostly to the desert.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT I DON’T KNOW
Unlike cars, trucks, and motorcycles you really can’t order accessories from the bicycle manufacturer. There are a few exceptions like Surly or Rivendell bikes, which will sell you accessories built to fit their bikes or aftermarket accessories they have tested for fitment.
Generally bikes are like campers – a frame built by the manufacturer and most everything else is bought from vendors and bolted on by the user or the retail store selling the bike. Adding accessories is usually limited to what the aftermarket sells – meaning that accessories are not fitted to specific bike model, but are universal in design and fitment. That was our situation after purchasing our REI Novara Safari bicycles. We would need several different accessories for each bike.
- Noah’s Tarp, by Kelty
- Tyvek Groundsheet, by DuPont
- Adjustable Tarp Poles, by Big Agnes
- Mayfly Chair, by ALite
Yes, discussing backpacking gear is still boring.
Yes, this stuff is heavy.
Yes, I bought this stuff.
No, I am not going to use it for backpacking.
We now have over 4,000 miles on the ProPride Trailer Hitch. Operation has been flawless, and with continuing practice I can hook-up, or disconnect in a matter of seconds. Considering that most of our camping trips are about 100 miles round trip, that is a lot of hitching and unhitching. The trick is to try and keep the tow vehicle lined up with the trailer, so the hitch isn’t at an angle when parking the camper.
About every 500 miles I lube the unit via the two grease fittings.
The modifications I had to make (documented in our 1,000 mile update) have worked well.
You may ask, “What do bikes have to do with backpacking or camping?” Well, we often take our bikes when we go camping. I have a lot of experience touring and camping with a motorcycle, and a bike can be used for that too.
Picture from REI website
For our 12th wedding anniversary I bought Joyce a bicycle. I have to admit, it was a truly romantic gift, if I don’t say so myself.
At the time, I decided to buy one for me too. Women like that kind if stuff. You know, matching his and her stuff. So this is our first matching his and her purchase. But I have to make this public. I am drawing the line at bikes. There will not be any matching his and her clothes, or any other kind of matching stuff.
Aside from my wonderful attentiveness to Joyce’s wants and needs, and my propensity to pick out the best and most unique gifts for birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries – I thought I might share a little about my bike research, selection, and the purchase itself. We bought two REI brand Novara Safari bikes.
There is a term that I have heard other backpackers use which is, “Packing Our Fears.” I am not sure there is an exact definition to this statement. To me it infers that people have a fear of certain things in the wild because they don’t have good knowledge of what they fear. Perhaps it means we fear things that, in reality, have a very small chance of hurting us or even killing us. But the fear is there.
When people ask me about the dangers of sleeping in the desert, such as rattlesnakes or scorpions, I dismiss them as silly. Same goes for black bears or mountain lions. Today I realized that this is unfair and perhaps I am judgmental. The proper approach would to share as much knowledge about these things as I can and communicate why they should be of less concern. I should also reassure others that these fears are normal.
Today I decided not to take a trip because of a fear.
“You can’t play every weekend,” is something one would say to a child.
Children need to be assigned tasks, duties, and responsibilities. It is what parents should do – parent their children. Guide the children. The parents do this. The parents decide how children will allocate their time. Children can’t spend their entire childhood playing. Nor can children make the important decisions in their lives – they aren’t the parents.
If you have done a good job as a parent, your children will become self-sufficient and no longer need your help. They will leave home and not come back to live with you. This is the mark of good parenting – the children grow up, and leave the nest for good. Of course, a parent wants the children to come back to visit, but not come back to live.
My children are grown, self-sufficient and successful. I see no reason why I shouldn’t be allowed to play every weekend.
An s24o is a sub 24-hour overnight backpacking trip. I have been doing s24o trips for decades, but never knew they needed a special name or, more surprisingly, that someone had already gone through the trouble of identifying and cataloging this kind of hike, developing a name, and even creating an acronym for said name.
But here it is. It exists and it is important, because I read it on the Internet. A while back I mentioned the s24o, but am too lazy to go back and check it. As far as the acronym, I like it, have consciously added it to my vocabulary, and will use it when deemed appropriate – assuming I remember it and do not misplace it in one of those little used crevices in my brain.
Our wedding anniversary is September 7th and it was the 11th (out of 12) anniversary we spent camping. We would have been 12 out of 12, except last year we were sans camper after vandals destroyed it.
I am lucky (or I chose well) because Joyce loves to go camping. It doesn’t matter when or where we camp, camping almost always takes a priority. She doesn’t camp to make me happy, she does it for herself.
This year we headed up to the mountains. After several trips the past couple months in the desert, the mountains would be a refreshing difference.