Why Bother Not Carrying Your Fears?
Once again I met with the women who like me, want to hike and backpack this summer.
This time, we met at Cass’s house, so she could show us her gear and maybe, weather permitting, watch her set up her campsite.
Arriving at her house in the cold rain, she told me that it might just be the two of us since some of the others had forgotten or had had unexpected things pop up, and we’d save the camp set up demonstration for a warmer drier day. While we waited for the possibility of one other arrival, Cass asked if I wanted to see her “gear closet.” I followed her down the hall to a bedroom converted into an office and she opened a closet door.
Any other woman might be proud to show off the snazzy outfit she’d gotten on sale for a fraction of the regular price, but instead, Cass was pleased to show me a closet full of rain slickers, jackets and sleeping bags slung over hangers. The red bag caught my eye. “Is that the new one you told me about?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said as she rubbed its material between her fingers. “It is heavy, but it will keep me warm in sub zero weather.”
Walking back to the kitchen, we heard a tap on the back door and I let Mona, another member of our loosely knit tribe, inside. Cass poured us cups of coffee and Mona and I sat down with our paper and pens ready to take notes.
“First, I’ll first show you what I carry for a day hike,” Cass said as she began laying items out on the table; matches, an emergency blanket, rope, knife and a small first aid kit. “It is usually the day hikers who get into trouble since they can’t imagine running into any adverse circumstances during an out and back hike. Then when they do, they find themselves in a bigger ordeal because they have no survival gear.”
Mona and I nodded and began writing out our lists of things to buy. I don’t even own a day pack, so that went on the top of my list. The other items would be easy to gather together.
Next, Cass showed us her 80 liter pack, the one she carries for longer treks. “All of my day hike gear goes in this pack along with a few other items.” She disappeared for a second returning with a stacked set of heavy duty tool boxes on rollers.
I was impressed and overwhelmed as Cass opened each tote showing and explaining the importance of each of the items; titanium utensils, a tiny tea kettle, a cup, sleeping bag liner, bug net, a towel, stocking cap and gloves. In the last tote were her tarps and hammock.
“About how much weight should we plan on carrying?” Mona asked.
“Well that depends on your fears,” Cass answered.
“What do you mean by that I asked?”
“You know that new sleeping bag I showed you? I could carry a lighter one, but I am afraid of getting cold. So I’m willing to haul it because of my fear of the cold.”
I inventoried my regiments and routines, all the things that made me feel secure; vitamins, coffee, books and journals. I could easily leave my make-up behind, but traveling anywhere, I’d always packed more books than clothes. Could I do without reading and writing? What would replace those things? Yet, I knew I’d have to leave them if I wanted to travel light.
Why bother not packing your fears? It is worth it to gauge the weight of the things we carry. And though we don’t know what we will be like without them, we do know we will be lighter.