Back to Nature

Yesterday’s excursion to Ruffner Mountain inspired me to do something I have been wanting to do for a while.  I bought Emily her first (of many I hope) real hiking style backpack.  I was about her age when I first got one and that pack was with me through a lot of fun outside.  My favorite memories of scouting are from backpacking trips and it is one activity that I constantly regret that I don’t make more time to do.  Mostly it has been because I haven’t had a hiking partner but also I have just been a little lazy.  I used to love going out for day hikes with our dog Sophie but as we both got older, fatter, and lazier we stopped going.  I miss it.  I don’t think our current dog, Mollie, is much of a hiker and Cindy has had multiple knee and ankle surgeries that makes high impact hiking troublesome.  I even tried to get Emily interested in it when she was much younger and she never really came around.  I am hoping now things will be different.  The first step in converting her to an outdoors-man…or rather an outdoors-PERSON is getting her some gear she can call her own.

The North Face Terra 40We went with The North Face Terra40 as her first pack.  This pack is specifically designed for a woman and we found that of the available models at Bass Pro Shops on Saturday that it fit her best.  I found it a little weird trying to fit a backpack to her because a lot of the things I care about were a little awkward for her.  I was especially flummoxed by the standard chest strap.  I like the chest strap as it makes the pack feel more stable on my back but I can see how a woman might have real trouble using it.  Otherwise everything else seemed to fit pretty well.

We had planned on getting up early today and taking a day hike at Oak Mountain State park but rain stopped that plan in its tracks.  I can say we were both fairly disappointed.  Ultimately though I am glad we went ahead and made the purchase because we now have the pack ready when the weather turns a little nicer.  I don’t think I am looking to do any over night backpacking yet but I do hope this is a start.  I find a lot of joy in being outside and away from all of the distractions of the modern, connected life.  There is always something new and interesting to find outdoors and I always feel a bit renewed after a long hike.  I don’t know if it is the same feeling others get when going for a long run or something similar but when it comes to athletic activity hiking always made me feel a little more alive.  I hope I get to share that with my daughter and I hope this kid, who has basically grown up indoors, finds something special about it as well.

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