September 27, 2011

Dos and Don'ts of Backpacking with your Significant Other

Sam and I hiked up to Santiam Lake last weekend. It was our first backpacking trip as a couple and really couldn't have gone better. However, like any new experience, it will provide a template for our next attempt. Some things were perfect and some things could use some adjustment. 

Do: Wake up at 5:00. Start out the morning with coffee and toast. Read your boyfriend the Savage Love column when it is particularly shocking.

Don't: Forget to change to your tail light. You will be pulled over on I-5 and almost have a heart attack. 

Do: Make sure you know where you're going.

Don't: Forget your notebook/sketchpad/directions in the car.

Do: Find the perfect walking stick.

Don't: Decide to pee behind a tree at the exact moment some hikers are coming around the bend. Stopping midstream is uncomfortable for you, plus the hikers will feel awkward about having to walk by some girl standing silently behind a tree while holding her pants around her waist.

Do: Bring delicious turkey sandwiches with avocado and basil. Eat them on the shore of Duffy Lake and feel good about your foray into the outdoors.

Don't: Forget that your Northwestern spirit feelings are no match for your boyfriend's Midwestern over-obvious logic. Forgetting this will send you across the Misleading Meadow, up the Road to Doom, past the Lake of False Hope, across the Barren Burnt Pine Wasteland, and finally into The Land of Early Death where you will finally realize that there is no way you are going the right way.

Do: Turn around.

Don't: Assume that your journey is over now that you are at Santiam Lake. The truth is, you are going to walk around the lake to get to the farthest campsite and the fact that you thought you were done makes this a million times more difficult. Try not to lose it.

Do: Give your girlfriend some space. Let her walk down the trail thinking she is by herself. This is beneficial for two reasons: (1) she will get her second wind, and (2) you will have the opportunity to watch her struggle to get over a down tree for three minutes. It will give you great joy.

Don't: Forget the marshmallows.

Do: Set up an awesome campground complete with tarp awning and firewood pile while your girlfriend naps in the meadow. She will be impressed.

Do: Eat a delicious pasta dinner and then sit around the fire and talk about how awesome you guys are at backpacking.

Do: Say something like, "Oh man, I wish I had brought a little bottle of whiskey" and then once your girlfriend agrees that would have been awesome, pull out the little bottle of whiskey you brought. Again, she will be impressed.

Don't: Try to use the water filtration pump by yourself. Apparently, for you, it's a two-person job.

Do: Enjoy breakfast and coffee while sitting on little rocks on the shore of the lake. Watch the clouds whip overhead, the fog spin over the lake, the fish rise. Be glad you are in the mountains.

Don't: Start hiking with every warm piece of clothing you own on your back. Once you really start walking, you will almost keel over from the heat. 

Do: Enjoy your walk back to civilization and then head straight to your girlfriend's parents' house where you can shower and then eat a warm home-cooked meal.


Elizabeth said...

Perfectly put difference between you and Sam - "Northwestern Spirit feelings" vs. "Midwestern over-obvious logic"... You just provided the foundation for some amazing nicknames to come!

Elizabeth said...

Sorry - that was Jesse's comment logged in as Liz - he actually reads your blog sometimes too :)