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Dana Warren Solo Hike 2015

Its Time to Fess up

The Outfitters - Sunday, June 21, 2015

I’ve never camped alone. I’ve barely lit a stove (without supervision). I cannot, for the life of me figure out how you mark a waypoint (what’s a way point?) and this whole GPS thing is definitely a challenge. And, come to thing of it, I don’t remember putting up a tent on my own either but I do tend to take over when the tent putting up thing is occurring. 

Almost everything beyond the gumption of actually going has been garnered through community and of course, Google. Thank the Gods for Google. Oh, and Emma*. Emma has done all of these things alone and confessing to her as I picked up my list of supplies has been cathartic. But, still, this stuff hangs around my brain. 

I find my thoughts wandering off into the land of doubt sporadically. Where will I camp? I know the ground has to be dry but what about the ‘where’? In my uncertainty I search for these answers on the interhole (a place I can be easily sucked into) and come up with things like “don’t camp near water because the animals’ access is disturbed”. Well then. What about me? Then I go to the incessant loop in my head – animals. Me and the great big scary outdoors.

It’s slightly embarrassing to say that I don’t have any real experience doing this beyond my ability to walk. I know I can walk. I know I am strong. But in the vein of reaching out and fessing up, I am moving beyond my ego and into the territory of receiving. People have knowledge. People have fears.  And they’re not all the same as mine. They also have great experiences of their own that help me along and build my conviction. And there’s that whole thing where you learn from their mistakes.

Another confession. I’m reading Willy Whitefeather’s Outdoor Survival Handbook for Kids. It’s a how-to survive-in-the-woods picture book. It covers the bases and the basics. I now theoretically know how to take care of water, food, shelter, sleep, fire, weather, heat, and cold (and much more – this is a great book) but the most magical learning has been the reverence for nature and animals. In it’s simplicity it has served to reframe my headspace from afraid to respectful. I am a “guest in the animal’s home” but I’m still at the top of the food chain. I’ve learned that wind and rain and all things weather are sometimes about waiting it out and you can always “talk from your heart to the lightning”. Even if I don’t, the idea of such calms me down.

Today I’m going to fill up my back pack (which I l.o.v.e. it’s the Osprey Atmos with all of my bits and head out for the night. I will be crossing yet another frontier that gets me to the other side of preparedness. I will carry Willy’s book to read while I’m sleeping in my tent nuzzled up in an idyllic nook where I will sleep like a baby all tucked in in the company of myself. 

(Ha, it just came to me…a way point points the way.)

*Emma works at The Outfitters and has extensive experience in all things outside.

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