Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stop Obsession Now

One of the first questions I'd hear upon entering a trail shelter, setting up camp, or even going into a chat room is:

What's your base weight?

another version of this is

How much does your pack weigh? or Whats your big three weigh?

Some people know how annoying this can be. Or, they don't have a light pack, just hike monstrous miles, so they'll ask

How many miles did you do today?

Now, I am an ultra lighter. I love paring grams and minimizing baggage. I'm five foot two, weigh about 115 . So, I'm trying to keep it down for my health and safety. I can hike away from trouble, get into town when needed, not suffer stress fractures in feet, prevent knee damage, and have more room for food in the pack.
And I understand why older folks would want to be ultralight. It feels good.
Plus I'm fascinated with alternative gear and methods. I've done my big mile days: Getting into a cruise mode and just keep going.

But I'm sick of the obsession: numbers that just don't belong in the wilderness experience.
I don't care what some one is carrying. Just have enough so you don't have to beg borrow or steal from someone else.

I'd like to suggest a totally ridiculous idea. How about we ask, with real concern for the answer:
What did you see today?

How was your hike today?

Then, how about we listen to the amazing description, the descriptions that light up the eyes, spark the enthusiasm, and restore the passion for our land?

Sounds crazy, I know. A low carbon way of hiking. Peaceful and sharing.

How about anyone talking stupid numbers gets thrown into a lake, yes a real, bona fide lake.

One of my favorite quotes, found in a trail register at a water cache on the Pacific Crest Trail:
In the end you find, no one wins, and the race was only with yourself.

and this I started adding to it. I don't even know where it came from:

So, take the path of your own chosing, and be not dismayed if no one leads, or follows.

1 comment:

  1. I'm the same way. For me it's worse to be told constantly what time it is. I go out there to get on "sun time" and just live the day, not worry about being in camp in 45 minutes.