Our next backpacking trip is finally visible on the horizon. We’re about a week and a half away from leaving California and entering Big Sky country. There’s a quote in T.H. White’s The Once and Future King (which I can’t, for the life of me, find) that says something like this: a man that works outside can be much happier, for less pay, than a highly paid man who works inside. This is because he can keep his soul. Essentially saying that the man (or woman) who works inside loses something that cannot be replaced by money. This idea has always been resonant with me. Obviously it’s not necessarily true for everyone, but for me, it is. Being temporarily in a job that ties me to a desk for 8 hours a day tends to wear down on something inside of me. Yes, I am saving money. Yes, I am taking steps to get to my dream job, but in the meantime I can look forward to trips like this that will heal the part of me that I lose. Finding something that does that for me has been instrumental as it is something I can mentally grab on to when I’m feeling frustrated or impatient.
The trip we are taking is into the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana. It’s up near the Glacier National Park area and is, by all accounts, supposed to be beautiful. I’ve been to Glacier more than probably any other NP, and I love it, so the trip is going to be awesome.
If you’re at all familiar with the area, you probably know what our biggest concern is for this trip. In a word, bears. These are not the relatively harmless black bears that can be found in our neck of the woods. There are bona fide grizzly bears. I’m not terribly concerned about them because we are going to have about 7 or 8 of us going, but we’re definitely going to have to adjust some of our usual habits. I don’t think it would be wise to be as lax with our food as we are sometimes known to be. Once we get up to Montana, we’ll get some of those über expensive bear spray canisters just in case.
We have a couple other things that we’ll pick up once we get to Montana as well. We’ll get fuel for the stoves and other fresh food. Everything else we’re going to bring on the plane with us. I got on Amazon today and ordered a duffle bag that should be large enough to put my fully loaded back pack in. We figured that it would be wise given the horror stories of backpack straps being eaten by luggage conveyer belts. I also gave in and bought a hammock. Dad bought one and I could already picture him lounging in our campsite while we made do sitting on damp stumps. It was really a no brainer. Once it gets here in a couple days I’ll test it out in the yard. I’ll probably write a little gear review after we get back from the trip. I also intend on posting more gear reviews in the future, so look out for that if you’re interested.