Backpacking Preparedness: The Lesson I’ve Learned.

We left the trail early again this year.  This trip, and the last, drove home a very important lesson – whatever you’re not prepared for is what’s going to get you.

There were three big things that we, apparently, did not prepare for very well this time.  In order of when we figured that out:

Bugs.

Both IT and I forgot any kind of bug repellant, and paid for it dearly.  I’ve never been so mercilessly swarmed by mosquitos and black flies before in my life.  In the words of “Goose” the Australian flip-flopper we met: “do you like mosquitos?  Well you better start.”

While the bugs were not a deciding factor in getting off the trail, they made some sections incredibly miserable.

Rain.

We all had raincoats and pack covers – except Cheyenne, because I forgot hers.  We also remembered to seal the seams on my tent this year, but we didn’t do it well.  IT, and I also didn’t realize that our two sleeping pads next to each other would push on the sides of the tent in a way that would allow rain to get in, which meant IT, Cheyenne, and I were all soaked two nights in a row.  Uncomfortable, potentially dangerous – hypothermia is a risk in Maine even in the summer, and definitely not helping the cold I woke up with on Thursday, the wet tent was one of the main reasons I made the call to try again next year.

Hiking.

That’s right, hiking.  None of us were prepared to hike any significant distance, because none of us trained at all.  Unless you include the trip IT and I took to Acadia, none of us have hike hardly anything in months if at all.  This lack of training, plus a weird step on Katahdin, caused an old knee injury of mine to flare up.  The knee was the final straw.  I could have pushed through, but it would have been extremely painful.

So because of illness, pain, bugs, and rain I decided that the trip was no longer enjoyable enough for me to want to continue.  The goal was for it to be a fun bonding experience, and challenge for the four of us to do together, and being soaked every night, and in pain with every step took a lot of the fun out of it.

 

While I do feel bad that IT and my dad didn’t get to finish what they had worked so hard for I am grateful to have such supportive people in my life.

We’ll definitely be doing shorter hikes before IT and I leave on out road trip, just being extra careful about my knee, and the weather.

Next time we’ll even bring bug spray.

IMG_4427
Those are all bug bites.

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