It only seems fair that I should get to give my side of the story as a follow-up to Tara’s debut post on our first backpacking trip.
Andrew introduced me to backpacking when we had been dating for about 9 months.
That’s right. Before we had even been on a “real” car-camping trip, let alone a day hike longer than a mile. No matter.
Little did I know this was one of the many tests he had to see if I was adventurous enough to consider spending the rest of his life with. Luckily, I think I passed.
We joke that it was a test, but the truth is, when you’re in love with someone, you find you really want to share with them all the things that are really important to you. I felt like I knew her well enough at the time to be pretty sure that she’d really enjoy backpacking. In hindsight, this was probably just dumb luck that she did. Thank goodness!
Andrew had been backpacking many times throughout his childhood, and had organized one trip with his brother (but they ended up hiking out early).
The forest was burned in that area, and we had wound up camping in a cow pasture. Besides, we wanted to go see Mt. Rushmore.
I don’t remember weighing the packs but they were definitely not light-weight.
Most over-packed I’ve ever been for a trip, that’s for sure.
We had to stop in Fayetteville on the way down to pick up a map and an extra flashlight.
This is because I failed to procure, or even locate a trail map beforehand. Mostly due to the fact that I didn’t start looking until like a week before when it was already too late to have one shipped.
After hiking an unknown trail in the dark like that, I really appreciate my head lamp that I have now.
She left out the part about how we lost the trail momentarily—most likely out of respect for me, or in an effort to not make her mother think I’m completely nuts.
When we reached the area where we had originally had planned on stopping, we decided neither of us really wanted to camp in the rain.
Sometimes I regret bailing like that. We have yet to truly camp in the rain on a backpacking trip. Then I think about the delicious dinner we had in Eureka Springs during which I tested Tara’s materialism by first getting BBQ sauce all over my face and hands and then spilling an entire glass of red wine on myself. When she still loved me after that and the backpacking, I knew I’d better not lose this one.
Hopefully my outdoor photography has improved since then.
My parents gave Tara a Proper Poncho shortly after the trip.
If you ever go on a backpacking trip that goes completely according to plan, you did something wrong. Backpacking is about spontaneous deviations from the plan. Whether it’s the decision to do a through-hike instead of an out-and-back and then hitchhike back to the car or to call off a summit push due to pending weather, the unknown is one of the most rewarding aspects of the activity.
Safe to say we’ve gotten far better at backpacking since that first trip…