Backpacking: The Fear

I am sure you have heard the saying by Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do something everyday that scares you.” I definitely think it is important to push myself out of my comfort zone, and for this week, it will be with backpacking.

Truth be told, I am scared of many things. I was never much of an outdoors person before, never much of an adventurer. I did not take my first plane trip until I was in my 20s (I am also pretty afraid of heights). The unknown scares me more than anything. However, I got to a point in my life where I felt that fear was really holding me back from actually living, and I was done letting it keep me from new experiences.

I found that I loved being outdoors, thrived in communing with nature and basking in the meditative expanse of it’s silence, peace and grandeur. The views and experiences have made every hike, camping and backpacking trip worth it.

Death Valley: Bad Water Basin

crossing Bad Water Basin in Death Valley

Tomorrow, we leave for Shepherd’s Pass, in the Inyo National Forest. I have all the usual pre-trip anxieties and uncertainties. I have never even hiked this trail before, much less, ventured into it’s wilderness and stayed for multiple nights. I looked through the internets for as much research as possible on the trail. I found that I will have to do about 4-5 stream crossings. Whether it is my lack of grace, balance or experience, stream crossings are always my biggest obstacle while hiking. I overthink them, I wonder how hurt I will be if I miss a rock and fall in. I examine the rushing water and sharp rocks below, before committing to my next move, usually the group that I am with way ahead of me.

I fell in to Mills lake in Colorado before on a day hike, because I slipped on a rock while crossing, I was submerged completely under glacier water. I was in no way hurt, and pulled myself out fast enough, but that does not help ease my mind as I fear new trails in front of me.

soaked!

soaked!

Oh yeah, and this trail/campground, has no pit toilets or any type of familiar bathroom setting, yet another thing to make me uncomfortable and fearful.

However, I know when this trip is over, it will be a new accomplishment, a new experience I will have learned from to help me blaze even newer and challenging trails in the future.

I am as prepared as I will ever be. I finally broke down and bought some trekking poles that I am hoping will help me on the stream crossings. I tried them out on a training hike earlier in the week, and I still need time to get used to them, but I think just having them eases my mind a bit.

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I loaded up on the vegan eats for the trip. Clif bars have been an absolute lifesaver on so many hiking and camping trips, and will be our breakfast each morning.

Lunch will be hazelnut butter + jelly sandwiches and dinner is the only 2 vegan dehydrated meals I could find at REI. We bought the Katmandu Curry & Louisiana Red Beans and Rice, I will let you know how they tasted. We also have vegan jerky and tons of trail mix.

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Wish me luck as I embrace my fear, anxiety and uncertainty, to blaze a new trail and cultivate a new experience. I am at peace with the unknown of this trip, I am casting the “what ifs” aside and looking forward to views, the self-discovery and the lesson from this trail.

Check back later this week for a recap of my previous backpacking trips, and next week I will be back to share my pictures and experiences.

Happy trails,

lawn lake

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