Ok, it’s a very valid question to ask: HOW are you doing this, Therese? The logistics! What are they? How do you know how to survive in the woods? If you’re in a rush, I have a very short answer for you:
I don’t. I don’t know how to survive. But I do know how to read and ask questions.
RESOURCES. Know your resources, use them. I’m talking these websites/books, BUT ALSO the people you know, your family, your hiking friends, the hiking community. Reach out, tell your story. You are interesting, this is a hell of a hike, and we’re all in it together. It takes a village. (…that’s applicable right now, yeah?)
If you’ve got more time, here’s a long answer:
So right now, a week and a half before I get dumped off at Springer Mountain, it’s really easy to fall into a flurry of worry. I mean, there are a million things about backpacking that I just don’t know about. My family and friends and random people I meet have really reasonable questions that simply send me into a tizzy. Today I made the mistake of going into a camping store. God. Big mistake. For a moment I stood in the midst of highly priced goods. What kind of stove am I using how much fuel should I bring I need to get a pot and also a spoon and do I have enough insect repellent and bear spray and rope and what if I start chafing I hear your nipples can get all messed up and also your legs and should I get more stuff sacks maybe I need these heavy duty zip lock bags what if something breaks while I’m out there when should I start mail dropping who am I going to get to do that and where am I going to be when it happens – WOAH. STOP. Pause. Rewind.
Honestly? I’m not worried about these things. I’m trusting the
And my strong will. And endless ambition. And the other people on the trail.
This isn’t a journey that will physically murder me unless I let it. Well, maybe it will “kill the false being within,” but that’s not from my manifesto. And I’ll be happy if that happens anyway.
If we’re getting real, I’m more terrified of getting Lyme disease or waking up covered in spiders or not being able to find the start of the trail than I am of not having what I need on the trail. THOSE are things you can’t control or buy solutions for at the nearest convenience store.
Right now, I have my backpack and some of the warmth essentials. I’m still in the process of getting things I know I’ll definitely need. What’s important is that I’m mentally ready to go fend for myself out in the world.
Plus, I’ve got to do this for Waldo. He’s been a real stick in the mud lately and I think he needs to find himself. Check out his journey here.
Here’s a gear list of what I’ve got already:
- Merrell Moab Waterproof episode 5 whatever blah blah 2.0 something or other hiking shoes. They cost lots of money but it’s worth it. They are so comfortable I could sleep in them
- Army regulation sleeping bag, housed in a stuff sack and also a waterproof shell. There’s a name for the shell, but alas I cannot remember. It is camouflage. Good luck finding me.
- Poncho, which is 6ft long and will double as my tent, because I am a badass (like father like daughter)
- Gossamer 60L backpack with hip belt, made for ultralite campers who didn’t want to buy an Osprey because they’re hipsters at heart.
- Waterproof army regulation stuff sack for all your stuffing waterproof needs!
- Water-wicking clothing. Well, I’m still working on getting all of these things together but I have a long sleeve shirt so I count that as a win.
- 2 pairs of wool socks. So. Freakin’. Cozy.
- 3L camel back. Also army regulation – surprise!
- a poo shovel. Guess where I got that? Yup! The army!)
- Cord on cord on cord to hang up my food, and tie up my enemies to trees.
- Because I need to maintain my badassery.
- Notebook, because I have an addiction to journaling. I’m enabling myself.
- Waldo, who will be accompanying me on this journey because he, too, needs to find himself.
- Murphy my stuffed animal pup, who I admittedly cannot sleep without. C’mon, I know you have one, too. Adulthood is a lonely place without your stuffed animal.
Things I’m Going To Purchase Soon (like, real soon. This is a pending list. I don’t think I’m 100% prepared, and that’s totally ok! We have a little bit of time):
- Stove and fuel, because, food. Boiling water. It’s important.
- Water purification tablets I don’t need you, micro bacteria and viruses! Goodbye!
- Sawyer water filter I also have no need for you, Silt! So you can kiss my pretty water filter.
- Food. Because…I’ll need to eat. But don’t worry, a separate nutrition post will be making its way up here soon.
- Hardcore bug spray. Fuck you, bugs, my body can take the chemicals if it means I get to avoid getting West Nile or Lyme disease.
- More water wicking clothing
- A down jacket. Baby are you down didy down didy down?
If there’s something I’m seriously missing, don’t be afraid to let me know and say “Therese, Jesus Christ, you idiot! You can’t go out into the wild without (blah blah blah)!” I’m always willing to learn.