Quasi-Indefatigable Xenolith

Camping / Hiking

El Porvenir Trail With Shayna

Date: June 2005

The First (Return to) Backpacking Adventure

I decided at some point that I enjoyed backpacking when I was young, so my kids would as well. As a result, just before going on my first Girls Camp with Shayna as a priesthood leader, we were going to hike into camp through the Pecos Wilderness, a place I had hiked in as a teenager.

Shayna was excited but we never got a chance to do any preliminary hikes before we hit the trail. We were both terribly overloaded (I must have had at least 60 lbs on my back) and we followed a book's advice about how much food to take (way more than we could eat at every meal). What was originally slated to be about a 9-day hike (probably way too ambitious for us) turned out to be a 4-day hike.

The trail we took winds back and forth over a small river and we were constantly stopping to try and dry things out, which slowed us to a crawl. Being very top-heavy, I fell in once and got pretty soaked. While drying out, this little older guy came by us, smiling with a little rucksack and some words about our hiking sticks. I decided I would look at more appropriate equipment next time.

We spent 3 days hiking what I hoped to accomplish in about 1.25 days and Shayna was complaining a bit with headaches and such. I wasn't doing much better, but I wasn't talking about it. We decided to turn around and go back down the way we had come and Shayna was so excited that we climed down in one day! I nearly passed out twice.

Some nice guys working for the forest service gave us a lift into Las Vegas and we had a great night in a pretty expensive motel room.

If nothing else, my first backpacking experience in twenty-five years taught me that everything Boy Scouts had taught me about such things was going to get me killed before I reached the age of 40. Thus research on a new concept (at least for me) -- ultralight backpacking -- was beginning to change my vision of hiking in the future.