Backpacking helps remind you what is truly important. When out on the trail for an extended period of time, you completely forget about the stresses that typically keep you up at night. None of those matter, and they never should. Instead, everything boils down to what truly matters.
A few days ago we lost the trail while hiking up a mountain. Originally I was frustrated that we weren't going to make good time up the mountain side. When it became evident that the climb would take all day instead of just 2 hours, my priorities completely changed. All that really mattered was that I had some water. It didn't matter how long it took to climb or where I would potentially have to sleep. Those issues would work themselves out. I just needed to find water.
We had planned on hiking 150 miles in 7 days, and for this reason we each carried about 7 days worth of food. When the trail became nearly impassible, causing us to greatly slow our pace despite many long hours on the trail, food became the only concern. I did not care about anything else. We have since revised our route, allowing us to pass through another town to resupply (Metaline Falls). I just needed food.
The other night it was getting dark, and we were still out on the trail. I was exhausted and needed to rest. I was more than happy to lay in a swampy field. It didn't matter that I got wet and dirty. What really mattered was rest.
I love spending time in the wilderness, and I love exploring by myself. Despite this desire for solitude, I realize that the best part of all my travels has been the people that I have encountered. The people have a bigger impact on my life than any beautiful vista. Companionship is a requirement.
It's too easy to worry about things that really don't matter. When it comes down to it and your life is on the line, all you really need is food, drink, a place to rest, and some friends.
Besides the clothes that I am wearing, I have been caring a sleeping bag, water filter, water bladder, some food, lighter, stove, tooth paste, a rain fly, some extra socks, and compass. In the last 18 days of hiking, I have not thought of a single other thing that I would need. Instead, I've been trying to think about what I can jettison on the trail...I don't need all this stuff to be happy.
Gun club or golf clubs?
Chili burger in Metaline.