“A bear bag.” My friend, Scoop, gave me a slow, wide grin. “That is unless you want a bear in your tent. Otherwise, all food, empty food wrappings, toothpaste – anything that might attract bear — goes into this bag at night.
“Ahh…and where do I put this bear bag?”
“It hangs from a tree branch. One high enough off the ground that a bear can’t reach it, and it should be too small to support a bear’s weight. That way the animal can’t climb out on the limb and grab it. If you’re still worried about poisonous snake bites, buy a pair of snake gaiters to wear. They protect from shoe tops to knees.”
And so progressed my venture into backpacking. It all started in a phone conversation with Scoop. I happen to mention about possibly buying a hiking backpack. Unknown to me at the time, Scoop backpacks and was looking for a partner to hike with her.
That afternoon we drove to a going-out-of-business sale at a local outdoor store and went straight to the backpacks. Although selections were few, Scoop found the perfect one for me.
I already owned a hiking sleeping bag and boots. With my new backpack I was well on my way to becoming a real hiker, or so I thought.
Then Scoop gave me a list of everything else I needed for safe, overnight hiking. Ouch! Is backpacking fun? Yes. Inexpensive to get started? No.
I needed a one-man tent since our regular tents weighed too much for backpacking. But how big, or small, was a one-man tent? Other than pictures online, I had never seen one.
Hubby and I took a Saturday and drove to a Cabela’s that had tents set up in their camping section.
I found a one-man tent and stuck my head inside. Small, tiny, itsy-bitsy doesn’t begin to describe the miniature cave-like dwelling. Panic time! Being extremely claustrophobic, I decided to carry the extra weight and bought a two-man tent.
After multiple shopping trips, my collection of backpacking gear is almost complete. Scoop and I have several day hikes planned before we embark on my first overnighter.
I also discovered a side benefit of backpacking. The treadmill and exercise bike sitting in our bedroom are no longer exclusively used as a clothes rack. Now, I actually walk and bike on the equipment.