I occasionally wonder if I talk too much about the woods. I probably do, but that doesn’t deter me in the least. It warms my heart to see evidence of that sort of passion elsewhere, too, and makes me feel less like a deviant.
I’d like to share a recent example of just this type of thing.
I have two friends that have recently become backcountry hiking partners. They’ve both taken quite readily to the outdoors, and are as passionate as I am when it comes to hiking and canoeing and, if it can be believed, gear. One of them recently got married, and the other was a groomsman at his wedding.
I submit, for your pleasure and perusal, his wedding toast:
A step forward, that’s how a journey begins, regardless whether the destination is known or unknown. With this combination you start assembling the building blocks to an adventure.
I’m reminded of an adventure that Fadi and myself had last year. I had mentioned that I would be doing a back country camping trip in Algonquin park that Fall and invited Fadi come along, not knowing if he’d be interested.
See, Fadi had never been camping before, let alone camping a full day’s trek from any sort of motorized vehicle. So I was unsure if he would enjoy the trip, but I was excited he was up for the challenge.
There are a couple essential items required to be comfortable while in the woods. Shelter, food, fire, toilet paper, a good knife and a nice hot beverage from time to time. The requirements to enjoy this trip were fairly simple but getting there required the right gear.
So Fadi set off, purchasing some of the necessities, which in a way, really motivates you to actually try them out once you bring them home. Even if its setting up your tent in your backyard or taking a nap in your sleeping bag in the middle of the living room.
The first step to any camping trip is packing your gear, which is almost like a modified version of Tetris. The blocks have been replaced with random items needed to survive for a couple of days in the woods, and you see how much stuff you can actually jam into your pack.
Instructions for packing for a backcountry trip.
Pack your bag, fit all your gear in. Lift it and try it out. Walk around a bit, realize it’s way too heavy for an 8 hour hike. Put it down and repack with less things.
Repeat 3 times.
After you packed your bag with your gear, you realize that you still need to carry your food for the trip. Which you mistakenly went shopping for while incredibly hungry, so there is way too much food. So pack some of that away.
By the time you’ve reached this point, you should have successfully packed only the important things required to enjoy your adventure.
See, this type of camping forces you to really think of what is important, all the rest is just extra weight that you probably won’t need. Simplicity keeps you grounded and in the end, you end up enjoying the journey that much more.
Weird things you end up enjoying during your trip.
Realizing you’ve made an excellent choice with the hiking boots you’ve purchased because you’re walking through an entire trail of mud and your feet are completely dry.
Finding that sweet spot where your bug net is protecting you from the massive army of Special Ops Mosquitos and yet is not making you sweat faster than you can drink water.
Spending 45 mins looking for wood so you can make a cup or tea or hot apple cider. That beverage is really tasty when it’s done, but most likely because you’re dehydrated from looking for the wood.
This can also be repeated a couple of times.
The stars are pretty amazing when you get far up north, you can actually see the Milky Way across the nights sky, and it’s quite an experience to enjoy until you hear some thuds and grunts coming from the woods behind you.
Flashlights are a necessity.
The final thing required for your adventure is the right partner. A partner that will stick by when things are epic, and then when things are not so epic. They keep you stepping forward on your adventure.
Occasionally, you’ll find there are rivers to cross, hills to climb and decisions to be made, and your partner becomes important for your journey. I think we can all say that Lisa makes the perfect partner for Fadi’s adventure.
So, I finish with some advice to you, to continue enjoying the little things that life has to offer, those little important things, that make your adventure incredibly special.
Happy trails, Fadi. I wish you and your wife all the best, and may your life together give you as much excitement, contentment, serenity, and happiness as any adventure can provide.
And may your path ahead always look better than the one we hiked last year: