Sunday, May 27, 2007

What the heck just happened here?

I’m not sure what’s going on around here lately, but the husband and I have both suddenly launched into doing silly things we used to do Back In The Day.

You know, when we were young.

Before we had children. And a mortgage. Or even the vaguest notion of our own mortality.

Twenty (ok, possibly thirty) pounds ago.

My husband has begun attending Irish sessions and playing D&D games.

Today, I was planning out a weekend for myself. The last three having been utterly decimated by other things because my plans were not so much plans as a vague idea that I might do something that weekend, I was determined to find something I wanted to do.

And one thing led to another and I finally signed up for a weekend backpacking trip.

You know. With a backpack. Laden with a tent and a pad and a sleeping bag and extra clothes and socks and food and water and perhaps a nice camera, which will be useful to take pictures of the sock-in-progress that will obviously be along.

Because naturally, the first thing I decided upon was what knitting project to bring with me.


I don’t know what I was thinking.

I mean! I loved backpacking – twenty pounds ago. And I miss it, and hiking, and kayaking, and all sort of other ways I tried to kill myself back in the day.

But when I read that this was a ‘nice, easy’ hike of only seven miles to camp, I said to myself, “Well. Are you going to just sit around bitching about how you’d love to get back into that kind of stuff and waxing poetic about how someday you're going to take on the John Muir trail, while you get more and more out of shape and less and less likely to actually DO it, or are you going to shut up, put your game face on, contact the group and see if they’ll let a slightly fluffy almost-forty slowpoke into the herd?”

Um, they will.

Oh dear.


I had already determined a couple weeks ago (which was when it first occurred to me that an excellent weekend trip would be someplace with awesome hiking, seeing as how that used to be what I did with every waking moment that wasn’t taken up with tedious old work) that my old hiking boots are shot. I mean, shot. Well, not surprising, seeing as how they are over twenty years old at this point, saw extremely heavy use and were already somewhat past their prime back in the day and have now been in storage for ten years since their lasting wearing.

Apparently, my feet have grown a bit. Because zee size 7 boot, she does not fit zee tootsies any longer. Not when those extra-thick woolen hiking socks are factored into the equation.

I need new boots.

The tent I did own was way too big and heavy for backpacking, and also too large for one person (it is a four person monster – great for camping at a Renaissance fair with a harp [counts as a person in size] and about eleventy-million square feet worth of costume, but not so good for a backpacking crash pad), plus the poles were all bent and one of them cracked after a rather unfortunate encounter with a drunken not-a-Scot-but-likes-to-believe-he-is at a Renaissance fair about a decade ago.

My canteen is AWOL. Which is no big loss, believe you me. Nasty old thing. No amount of washing could get the iodine taste out of it – you could pour Perrier in there, and it would instantly taste strongly of iodine.

Irony being, I think I only actually used iodine tablets once or maybe twice in that thing.

My sleeping bag, praise $DEITY, is just fine. It’s even clean, which is a miracle. Good, warm sleeping bag.

But no sleeping pad. Which I’m pretty sure I’m going to not just want, but need, if I expect to be able to get up in the morning without help from a hoist.

I have no hiking clothes, trendy or otherwise – none of that ‘breathable’ anything. Slacks, or jeans. And all of my jeans have holes in the knees. My good hiking socks have been taking up landfill space for years now.

Worse, I have nothing appropriate for an outer layer for those cold mountain mornings. The one (1) fleece-like jacket I do own is a) not really fleece, b) not very warm at all and c) the zipper is broken.


Fortunately, I have some time between now and my weekend. Plenty of time to work in a trip to my favorite outdoor enthusiast mecca: Dom’s Outdoor Outfitters. Talk about bringing back memories…I used to live in that store!

Back when I was young and lithe, and could keep up with a backpacking group.

Which I’m not entirely sure I can do these days.

…oh gads, what have I gotten myself into…?


Hilary said...

when's your trip? REI rents packs and tents and the like, and depending on when you need it, I could probably lend you appropriate clothing (IIRC, you're somewhere in the size 2-6 range??) holler at me. such things can be arranged.

becky c. said...

Hey, hey, it's gonna be great!! Tents and sleeping pads are trifles. You took the big step and signed up, the rest will fall into place. I say good for you, have a blast!!

Anonymous said...

You are my hero. Wow.

buffi said...

Better you than me my friend. My idea of "roughing it" is a hotel without room service. *rim shot* And to do so voluntarily? Without coercion from family or Girl Scout troop leader? Ain't gonna happen. Clearly you have lost your mind.

But, um, have fun. Please survive. Your children are counting on you! ;~)

Science PhD Mom said...

One link:

You can at least pick up socks, jacket, etc, there, and it will probably be a bit cheaper.

I am afraid I cannot do "zee camping" without "zee toilets". I did the pit latrine thing once, and discovered I am manic without running water. Before that trip, I never realized how I *need* to have clean fingernails. Now, I know better. But hey, you will enjoy yourself!! Just get those new boots early and wear them often to break them in!

Susan said...

You are about to embark upon what is my idea of Hell Brought Forward. Um (gawd), enjoy (really?) yourself. ?

May the needles in your rucksack poke skyward.
(Old Irish Backpacking Knitter's Blessing)

21stCenturyMom said...

You go girl! For me camping = Best Western instead of Hyatt. I did camp at Wildflower and then lost my tent on the freeway on the way home. I don't miss it a bit.


Amy Lane said...

Uhm...okay...I used ride my bike, a lot more than thirty pounds ago, yes, and definitely four children ago, and as much as I miss those days, I would be the first to admit that I need a years worth of conditioning to get even close to returning to them...

Have you thought about a little practice?