What’s in your backpack? Ten…Eleven Essential and No Machete
May 2021: Harpers Ferry Hike
It’s been a year since Arizona Eagle, our son, was in Ohio. He flew back for a two-week break between semesters using a soon-to-expire Southwest Airline ticket (Southwest had allowed a one-year extension for the ticket due to COVID). The winter season had brought another round of COVID infections that increased the number of hospitalizations and deaths. When May finally came with its sunshine and flowers, it felt different to me. The world felt hopeful and we (universal we) would get through this. Spring was a good reason to celebrate and we decided on a family vacation. I suggested Harpers Ferry, West Virginia: the mecca for the Appalachian Trail, for history (Ohioan, Abolitionist John Brown’s raid of the Federal Armory), and for baked goods (Bolivar Bakery).
Back in May 2021, we didn’t have an actual start date for our flip-flop. Our flip-flop was a vague adventure to happen somewhere in the future. I wanted to see the Appalachian Trail Conservatory Headquarters; watch AT thru hikers posing for their celebratory halfway photo; talk to volunteers at the conservatory, and place my hiking boots on the trail for this future dream.
The first day in Harpers Ferry, we planned a day hike in Virginia. The three of us slung on our daypacks filled with “The 10 Essentials for Hiking” (The American Hiking Society and The Mountaineers recommend ten pieces of equipment for hikers. These items have been identified as “lifesavers” in an emergency). The three of us have used the “Essentials” as a foundation for building out our gear for either a day hike or an extended backpacking adventure. That day we ate my go-to lunch menu: Curried Chicken Salad served on Triscuits, Girl Scout Cookies, and apples.
March 20, 2023
Outdoor Life: Do You Really Need a Water Filter for Backpacking and Mountain Hunting?
“There is no harm in hoping for the best as long as you are prepared for the worst.” Stephen King.
Most commonly, you’ll see 70 or more percent DEET in mosquito repellents.
He’s perfectly comfortable spending the day building his own shelter outdoors, fabricating whatever pleases him from mud, dirt, clay, water, sticks, and is in general a pretty inventive fella.