The Overlook: Backpacking in a Time of Uncertainty
Jan 19, 2021 at 12:47 pm #3694551
Companion forum thread to: The Overlook: Backpacking in a Time of Uncertainty
Is backpacking suddenly…hard? Ben Kilbourne understands, and discusses how to deal with it during uncertain times.Jan 19, 2021 at 12:54 pm #3694554Andrew MarshallModerator
@andrewsmarshallLocale: Tahoe basin by way of the southern Appalachians
Ben, I feel all of this, in everything I do – backpacking, painting, writing, daily life chores, my relationships. Thank you for helping me put some words to it. Great stuff. And great shots of the Animas River valley as well!Jan 19, 2021 at 8:42 pm #3694624AK GranolaBPL Member
Interesting article. I can relate to that feeling of being unsettled, nothing normal. It’s like monkey mind on steroids. I decided to cancel my bigger trip in 2020, in favor of a number of smaller excursions, and I’m glad I did. Still some regret (I worked so hard for that trip!) but I wondered how I would feel out there, knowing what terrible shape the country is in, wondering about family and friends, worried. Just worried about everything, as the author describes – violence, unrest, poverty, fire, disease. Just such a worrisome time. Short treks help relieve some of that anxiety, but I want to really immerse myself in a long trip, not worry about everything else while I’m out there. Hopefully such a time can happen again. Or I’ll just become a little more numb.Jan 19, 2021 at 9:25 pm #3694629Tom KBPL Member
Hopefully, this will be the year to make up for the sacrifices of 2020, Karen. I went through the same anguish, and ended up canceling all my planned Sierra trips. I just couldn’t live with leaving my wife to face all the fears and uncertainties generated by the pandemic. I felt we needed to face whatever was coming together, and that made the decision clear. It was tough on me emotionally nonetheless. However, the North Cascades offer a wide variety of world class hiking, and I got my money’s worth for sure. I had my best Cascades hiking year in memory in the company of 2 small pods of trusted friends, who are both fit and COVID savvy, so it wasn’t a complete loss. But I have to admit, I’m chomping at the bit to get back up into the Sierra again.Jan 20, 2021 at 3:04 am #3694648Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I just look at 2020 and perhaps 2021 and further as minor inconveniences. I did some backpacking trips last year — solo as usual. But I started the year out with a diagnosis of a heart problem I didn’t know I had, and then in September Joyce broke her ankle (quite serious) on a camping trip, which sidelined both of us.
Backpacking and camping are just some of my interests, and staying at home more often (I usually camp/backpack at least 100 days per year) gave me time to get more involved in my other passions (reading, stamp collecting and astronomy).
Of course for those of us in our ’70s our backpacking future is limited as the end of life beckons, and I would prefer to maximize my remaining time on earth in the backcountry, as it has always been my goal for retirement.
So we march on.
Live is good and we don’t have to worry about losing a job, our home, or our savings. We have close family who have contracted the virus, and extended relative who have died from it. There are a lot of people around us in serious trouble, so limited backpacking and camping is really just a minor inconvenience.Jan 20, 2021 at 8:32 am #3694675
Nick, I really appreciate this perspective. Thanks for sharing.Jan 20, 2021 at 11:44 am #3694696humorlessBPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
I’m pretty much in the same boat as Nick. The last year has offered many inconveniences, but nothing major. What’s helped me, I think, is that long ago I decided, to the best of my ability, not to worry or get hung up on things that are beyond my control. It helps me to not get too worked up about most external things in life. I also try to follow steps to change internal chatter and negative self talk in a more positive direction, which I’ve found helpful.Jan 21, 2021 at 10:06 am #3694896KatttBPL Member
That was heavy but a good read; thanks for taking the time to write all that. I am sure it wasn’t easy.
This past year has been the roughest in our lives yet. Covid first, cut my wildlife gig that pretty much paid the rent. My daughter lost her job. The fire burned all the places our family lived in. Chris’s son is still in a trauma center in Reno. Related family issues have caused much pain and destruction. We are still weathering it, thankful to have one another. The uncertainties are there, both personal and at large. I have been finding it hard to let go of all that and just be in the moment. The closest is watching our dog run and be happy. We have had many good years before this and that is more than most people on this planet. Hopefully things will get back to sense of normalcy soon. I know this is not the thread to pour my heart out but it’s all there at the front and ready to spill; not much social interaction and not enough friends to bounce it all off.Jan 21, 2021 at 10:51 am #3694898Ben CBPL Member
Good perspective that I think most of us feel. The hard part to me is not the loss but the length of the loss. I feel I am equipped to be a sprinter when it comes to loss, not a marathon runner. It’s the longevity of the pounding that drags me down.
But I approach it a little different than you. I feel better when I push myself to do more during these times instead of being content to do less. I have felt much better emotionally during the pandemic when I have pushed myself: learn to bake with sourdough, push hard on some fitness goals, explore new areas. All this is a good change, for me, from the forced withdrawal from some of the things we used to like to do.Jan 21, 2021 at 11:37 am #3694904
Ben C – I love this. Different personalities require different coping tools. Keep it up!Jan 24, 2021 at 8:15 am #3695305
Kattt – Writing this was actually pretty easy because it’s what’s going on. It’s the stuff on all our minds. I just gotta look at it instead of avoiding it.
Thanks for sharing your challenging year, which sounds much more challenging than mine! Hang in there. Better times are on the horizon.Jan 24, 2021 at 4:58 pm #3695400Ed NBPL Member
Thanks for putting words to my feelings.
Sitting here at 71 and feeling squeezed by time I do not feel a complainer or selfish by saying it is a big deal to lose human connection.
What has it done to us individually and to society.Jan 24, 2021 at 6:12 pm #3695416KatttBPL Member
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