While most of you are staring down Day 3 of your 2012 New Year’s resolutions, I find myself with less than five months to go on my annual birthday resolutions. Make that “first” annual birthday resolutions: When I turned 55 last May 11 I got to Googling and discovered that 55 is a somewhat pivital year for a male. Among other things, our muscles and organs begin to atrophy; we shrink, on average, 0.4 inches a year; we dehydrate more easily; our joints stiffen … . Suffice it to say that on May 11 of last year I didn’t feel I could wait seven months to set some goals, so I set 10 immediately. All with a theme of 55.
I cringed when I picked up the July Outside magazineand saw that it had the Mountains-to-Sea Trail listed under “Best Through-Hikes You’ve Never Heard Of.” No mention was made of the fact that the roughly 1,000-mile MST is only a little over half done, meaning that roughly 500 miles of this best-trail-you’ve-never-heard-of actually is on pavement, often competing with cars. Not exactly the escape most of us seek when we hit the trail.
The conversation during our three days together backpacking the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area this past Easter weekend always seemed to come back to nutrition. Grace, Lois and Alan had carted in enough fresh produce to start a farmer’s market at our Rhododendron Gap campsite. Conservatively, I’d guess they had 45 pounds of food between them. I was relying heavily on prepackaged, come-to-life-with-boiling-water dehydrated food, from instant oatmeal in the morning to cook-in-bag meals at night. Foodwise, I couldn’t have been carrying 5 pounds, if that.
Sometimes all you need is a little extra incentive to get you out the door and into the wild.
Those are some of the incentives we’re offering as part of the Backpacking North Carolina Challenge 2011, which kicks off this evening at 7:30 at the Great Outdoor Provision Co. store in Raleigh’s Cameron Village.
Sing the following to the tune of the theme song for “Car 54 Where Are You?”
There’s a 5K at the coast,
Umstead’s got a paddle trip.
They’ll be hiking up at DuPont
Where the views are bright and crisp.
It’s the first week-end in April,
Spring is firmly underway …
Plan to get out and pla-ay