If you were to pick up a copy of “The Joy of Backpacking,” you’d think you were getting a comprehensive guide to every aspect of “How to Backpack” and you’d be right in every sense of the word. Sitting in your armchair you would read the most important nuance of every aspect of backpacking; after all, it is a comprehensive guide.
You start your dream off with Part 1, and it’s all about “Planning Your Trip.”
Find the trip you would like to take, the destination of your dreams, that wonderful place by the lake where you have visions of setting up camp by the water’s edge, so when you go to bed at night the water lapping up against the shore lulls you to sleep. You rise in the morning to see the fog lift off the water. You might even catch a rainbow trout to go with breakfast.
Part 2: “Choosing Your Gear.”
Here you envision the bright color clothes you’ll need to purchase to keep cool while hiking during the day and others to provide warmth for the cool nights. You see yourself sitting by the water as the full moon rises over the horizon while sipping a warm cup of hot chocolate.
You read about the shoes you will need that will give you the greatest comfort and service. You write down to get an extra pair of socks so you can change often enough to keep your feet in perfect shape.
Let’s not forget the perfect tent, sleeping bag, and ground pad that will allow you to get a good night’s rest.
Part 3: “Dealing with Food and Water.”
This goes into how to plan your menu so you have plenty of energy for each daily trek. My favorite, peanut butter and jelly for three meals a day, just wouldn’t cut it for a four-day trip. Of course, you will need to take plenty of water at 8 pounds a gallon to keep well hydrated.
Part 4: “Prepare for the Trail” becomes a more serious subject matter. Now comes how to navigate, the art and science of not getting lost and the importance of map reading, using and gathering the tools to keep you on the right path.
Further on you read about making sure you get into great physical shape so you are fit to handle the dream trail you plan to hike. Your training begins by loading your backpack with miscellaneous heavy items to walk the neighborhood to get the feel of the 30-pound weight on your back.
Part 5: “Joy of the Trail” starts to add some reality as it deals with making camp, best time to go, rest stops, blisters, hydration, hygiene, and of course what to do if you get lost.
Part 6: “Safety and Comfort”
This is more than don’t forget the first aid kit. It deals with weather, what to do if it’s too hot, what to do if it’s too cold, and how to prepare for rain, which of course is never supposed to happen on your vacation.Then there might be insects, snakes, and the inevitable song of the coyote within a stone’s throw of your tent. Larger animals could also pay a visit, like Yogi Bear. Who knows what he’s up to these days!
Now, you are ready. You’ve thought of everything. You’ve done all your work to get into shape and prepare for whatever comes your way, on paper anyway.
The big day arrives and you’re finally at the base of the trailhead, looking like you know what you’re doing, and are ready for anything. Within your first steps, you hear buzzing and wonder if you remembered the insect repellent. Oh well, too late now. Probably won’t need it this time of the year.
The first day trek is only 4 1/2 hours, but by the time you get there you are hot and tired with at least one blister that hurts like the dickens. There is no water at this stop so you hope you have enough to make it the next few miles to where water should be available. The lake at the end of the second day will certainly be a perfect source if needed.
Content with yourself, you set up camp. You do it by the book, but it looks like rain, so you hope you’ve got things right. Before you have a chance to fix dinner the rain starts. Glad you were able to get camp set up, you crawl into the shelter only to find out you have a leak and it’s already getting things wet inside. You take your emergency duct tape out and head out to fix the hole in the tent. Now you are soaked to the bone as you crawl back into the tent.
You eat a few energy bars and decide to go to bed early. In the middle of the night you hear a rustle outside only to find a racoon has discovered and invaded the things you forgot outside. Oh well, tomorrow will be a better day.
Breakfast on day two consists of whatever is left that the racoon did not feel inclined to tear open. Now you are hungry, tired from a less than good night’s rest, and discouraged, wondering if you should go forward or back to the car and hit McDonalds. You could at least be there by noon.
Wow! This hike is full of challenges. Nothing like you dreamed it would be.
Life is not too different from this hike! We make our plans and have our hopes and dreams. Then life throws us some pesky little things like mosquitos on a camping trip, things that are more of a nuisance than anything else, but we do our best to deal with them.
Next comes the rain or should I say downpour? While we thought we were prepared, life hits us much harder than we anticipated. We take shelter in what we thought would be the solution, only it turns out to be a bigger problem (the tent started to leak) and we find our self in a hump on the floor, soaked in the middle of life’s tent. The final straw is when the morning comes, the rain stops, and a mistake in judgement (like leaving the food out for the racoons to take advantage of) causes us to have yet another disaster piled on us. Wham to the dream of how our life and relationships were supposed to be.
At this point our emotional backpack gets too heavy and we fall to our knees. Transitions, changes, losses, heart breaks are all a part of this life’s journey. The hard part is to separate the pain that often accompanies a loss from those positive realities that we have experienced with the relationships we have formed.
The Grief & Wellness Group has helped hundreds already. We can teach you how to move beyond the loss of your grief. Your life will be enriched with the personal new discoveries you’re guaranteed to make.
We have two new groups starting in August: Wednesday August 15th at 6:30 pm and Tuesday, August 21st at 10 am. Each class lasts for eight consecutive weeks for two hours each week.
If you don’t have an emotional tool in place to deal with these kinds of life tragedies and disappointments, they will steal your joy and happiness.
The Grief and Wellness Group will teach you, despite life’s heavy load, how you can overcome and reclaim your joy and contentment. There are groups starting every few weeks to help you overcome life’s adversities.
Choose to move beyond the loss rather than allow it to hold you captive.
Don’t delay! Give us a Call Today at 520 668-5906.
Grief Recovery Specialist
The Grief & Wellness Group, Inc
Bob has 18 years of experience as an educator and administrator. As a Grief Recovery Specialist and a Veteran, he delights in helping individuals move beyond the pain of loss.