Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Best - Part 5

I have some wonderful memories. Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canda; Death Valley; Rocky Mountains National Park; Yellowstone National Park; eastern Kentucky and Tennessee; western North Carolina; the Smokies; Joshua Tree; Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma; and others.

Why was this trip one of the best? There are several reasons.

First, my son was with me. We spent two weeks together. Let me brag on him for a moment. Like me, he has a sedentary job. To prepare for this trip he got on a treadmill, added a weight pack, watched his diet, did sit ups and push ups and exerted much will power and discipline. He lost thirty pounds!

Second, backpacking makes me feel alive! It takes me out of an artificial environment with heating, cooling, constant entertainment to dull the senses, thousands of food choices, padded seats and noise; things that aren't part of our evolution. While backpacking I'm in a world where I feel all is as it should be.

Third, I like the self reliance. Had something gone wrong it would have been up to us to take care of the problem because we were a few days from help without 911 service.

Fourth, the variety was fantastic. Cold at night, hot during the day, dry on the plateau above the river, cold pools to wade in the canyon, snow, wind and clear skies, distant vistas and narrow canyons that created an intimate world. Todd made an interesting statement on the second day. "This hike is like every hike I've ever done all rolled into one."

Fifth, we had a controlled degree of risk that caused us to calculate decisions. Not an adrenaline rush but a heightened consciousness.

Sixth was the route finding. Rather than being on a developed and maintained trail we had to keep an eye out for small cairns of two or three stones and in some places a faint path. The topo map enabled us to choose Point Hutizil as an exit.

Seventh was hiking in the dark. It added a memorable element to the experience to climb out of a canyon not knowing what lay beyond the range of our headlamps.

Eighth was using the GPS and headlamps to find the ranger station in the dark. We had few clues as to what lay ahead other than some contour lines on a map. The decision to get close and change direction to intersect the road gave us the surprise of anticipating how close we would come.

Ninth, getting stuck in the snow on the first morning was a plus. My son made an interesting comment. "This is the first time in 39 years that I've had to dig a car out of snow." I didn't realize I had deprived him of that experience when he was young.

Tenth, the camaraderie! Each of us took the lead at different times, we helped one another pass packs up and down climbs, we watched out for one another.

Eleventh, this trip was a little strenuous which is a good thing. I asked Todd what was the roughest trip he's ever done. His reply "I thought the Boucher Trail was the toughest until this one."

This trip had more elements then many other trips. That's what made it one of the best. I want to go back again as soon as possible. I've already approached a couple guys about a weekend trip in April.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

You might as well do what you love. Enjoy planning the next one.

3/24/2010 06:18:00 PM  

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