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.
We 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.