Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sharing Hobbies

Once upon a time, I was an avid ultra-light backpacking babe, averaging one weekend a month on the hiking trail and one weekend a month on the 4X4 trail... that's a lot of bag nights! (nights in a sleeping bag.)

Naturally, just when everything was going great and I was really getting the hang of this whole "Life" thing-- Love came along and smacked me upside the head and next thing I know I'm all shacked up with a couple of dogs and a man who completely changed my lifestyle.

Ok. Not "completely," but much much more than I'd anticipated.

Which really threw me for a loop, seeing as how the man I'm shacked up with had been a good friend for many many years before he decided that his life was empty and meaningless without me by his side (oh! It's such a long story.) and he's always been quite the outdoorsy type himself.

I didn't exactly expect him to switch out his Wranglers for Omni-weave convertible cargo pants, or leave his full-grain leather calf-high waterproof hunting boots at home in favor of some lightweight gortex trail runners, and I sure as heck never even asked him to hike without his full Batman-utility belt full of hatchets, firearms, zippo lighters and Leatherman multi-tools... he is who he is and while we might look like Mutt and Jeff with in the backcountry with our hippy and the hunter personas-- well... trust me, somehow it just works-- mostly.

Nevertheless, somewhere along the way, our personal routines of his hunting and my hiking on a regular basis came to a near screeching halt when we started dating.

A lot of variables contributed to that, but I like to blame him anyway.

The first  year we were a couple, we went on a little jaunt up to Lower Paradise Valley in Kings Canyon Nat'l Park along with my BFF and backpacking partner, Amz, and her hubby and 2 out of 3 of their kids.

I agreed to make some concessions for the new SO in an attempt to convince him that backpacking with me was something he would want to do on a regular basis; so I got him an external frame pack and begrudgingly closeted my most prize possession-- my Western Mountaineering Versalite down sleeping bag: rated to 10 degrees Faranheit, weighing in at just shy of 2 pounds, and oh-so-squishable that it takes up very little room in my 54 oz Mountainsmith Chimera pack-- and purchased new Campmor down rectangular sleeping bags that mate together for "snuggying" together.

The things we do for love.

That was May of 2006... and it was the last time the BF backpacked with me for the next 5 years despite claims that he enjoyed it and "looks forward" to more hikes together.

BFF Amz and I still manage to get outside for a few nights at least once a year, and last summer I was thrilled to break the 15 lb mark for my total pack weight-- that's really light, btw.

Of course, Matt and I got the canoe last year, and we certainly cannot be accused of having bought it just to look at it! But backpacking hasn't exaclty been our number one priority for far too long... but recently we decided we were going to do something about that.

So we both wrangled some time off and set about making plans for an early fall hike in the nearby Sequoia Nat'l Forest. Fully aware that we are out of practice and that this will be our only chance to get on the trail before it's covered in snow.

Now all I have to is learn to pack for 2.

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