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Our First (Non)Backpacking Adventure

20150731_194515Before our daughter was born, Tony and I were quite the outdoor enthusiasts. He and I would decide at 5 on a Friday to go camping, be on the road by 6, and have camp set up in some forest before sundown. We hiked more back then, too. He enjoyed it. I, on the other hand, will make no false claims, because a hiker I AM NOT. I know this about myself now, but back then, I think I was a love-struck 20 year old with the “If you build it, they will come” mentality. If I keep going on these hikes, I will acquire a taste for it. BS!! My idea of a good hike starts at Caesars Palace and ends at New York, New York.

Putting in a good 2 years or so of (suffering) enjoying day hikes, we agreed to up the ante and pack 3 miles in to one of our usual lakes, outside of Sisters, and camp for 2 nights. A friend of ours planned to join us on our woodsy adventure.

After weeks of working out the details, and ensuring we had the proper gear to make it, I had one last task to complete – grocery shopping for the trip. We would have to survive 2 nights miles away from our car, roads, or any civilization, it was this I was focused on, and not the 3 miles between the car and our destination that we had to conquer, while carrying all of our crap.

Yes, it was my privilege and responsibility to make sure we ate, were hydrated, and didn’t end up Donner Party Part Deux. I fully intended to bring enough along to last the two days, plus extra, of course, in the event there was some fantastic emergency, and we needed to live in the woods for longer than anticipated.

Tony will be so proud! I remember thinking, as I loaded the grocery cart with hearty things, like chili, beef stew, raviolis, plate sized muffins, and enough dinner rolls to serve a family of 12 (dinner rolls WTF!?) I came home from the store, beaming with pride at how well fed we would all be during our trip. (For those of you who are understanding the major blunder here, give yourselves a great big pat on the back) Tony didn’t quite have the proud look I thought he would, but that’s okay, I knew he would realize my greatness while sitting at the lake, enjoying a steaming hot bowl of something.

After unloading my purchases, our hiking buddy Pat came over and we did a dry run, loaded their packs with everything. I did not have a pack, I was in charge of carrying the poles (rod tip UP). Perhaps it was that very thing that kept it from ever occurring to me that my husband and Pat are not pack-mules, and just because it FITS in the backpack, doesn’t necessarily mean your husband wants to schlep it all over the countryside.

Tony tried his well-stocked pantry on first. My first clue should have been about three paragraphs up, but my second clue should have been that it took both me and Pat to lift it off the ground, so that Tony could even get it on. He got it on alright, and promptly fell backwards onto the couch.

After a long man-lecture about why a stockpile of canned food is the last thing you should take when backpacking (because….. it weighs a LOT), and their all-too-late suggestions of things like Top Ramen, Dried Soup Bases, a couple packs of hot dogs, and the dwindled budget, nixing the purchase of “lighter” fare, we decided still, to head over to central Oregon, camp near the trail head, and do a day hike to the lake.

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19 years later, now we’re a day-packing trio!

Now, I don’t really recall the camping, or even that hike to the lake. I do remember Tony and Pat giving me crap all weekend about the “Canned Goods Backpacker”, and being entirely convinced I had purposely sabotaged the lake campout. I still don’t know which is worse, them thinking that, which was not true, or me being that much of a dumbass about backpacking.

One vision from that trip still gives me a chuckle. After camping, on the drive home, we stopped to fish. Tony opened the back of the Subaru wagon, leftover canned goods rolling out, along with those 12 dinner rolls, untouched, mocking me.

I still haven’t lived down this 100 pounds-of-crap adventure, and rightly so, I guess, because I think it was a good two weeks or so before we needed to go grocery shopping again.

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