For most of us, getting closer to nature is one of the best parts of backpacking -- fresh air flowing through our hair, sun on our skin, the feel of mountain grasses brushing across our legs; the texture of dirt and stone, bark and branch, grass and dew. Many backpackers may not know what they're missing by donning the encumbrance of boots and pant.
In 2007, I started wearing a kilt and sandals on backpacking trips, and ever since I have resisted wearing
We're also fortunate to have an apricot tree, two peach trees, two juvenile Minneola trees, a blueberry bush, a baby avocado tree, three different kinds of grape vines, a walnut tree and a raspberry bush. We also have onion spread all over the place.
Most of the trees were here when we bought this small, ramshackle house. The rest are part of our plan to reduce expenses, to eat better and to have the confidence in knowing how our food is produced. Everything we grow here is organic and we do a lot of composting. We've planted from seed from trays and tend to them in our work room, we buy plants off of 'death row'.
We hope to be able to provide food for us, as well as be able to provide some for other local families. As we learn more, perhaps we'll be able to share what we've learned about productive gardening, and help it to spread in our community.
It's nearly summer, what are you growing?
(click on any photo to start a slideshow)
Snow cups near Ireland Lake
I've posted another trip report—this one for a trip that I always look back on with a great deal of fondness. This was my third backpacking trip in Yosemite, and it took place over the Independence Day holiday. I've always favored that holiday because of the time of year and the hot weather. The Sierra may still be showing signs of winter in July, but the days are generally warm even at high elevation, and there's likely to be plenty of sun. In fact, the sun and the lingering snow together create this interesting effect called snow cups. It's so fun to be hiking around in sandals on a warm day with patches of snow nearby. High-elevation trips are incredible—I just love them. Perhaps that's why this trip stands out to me, as it was my first to these altitudes in the Sierra. Here's my trip report!
I'm a relative newcomer to backpacking even though I've had the good fortune of going on nearly a dozen trips since my first, which took place only four summers ago. Although later trips have perhaps eclipsed my first in duration or adventure, few have been more scenic or more memorable. When I went out backpacking for the first time, I knew next to nothing about gear, preparations, or wilderness travel, and I had only my experience as a car camper to prepare me to walk into the wilderness. I was fortunate enough to have an experienced and knowledgeable guide for the trip, my partner Jason (at the time someone I'd known for only a few months), who was willing to take care of most of the details, loan me some gear, and look out for hazards and and variables I didn't even know existed.
I learned a lot on that first trip, and it laid the groundwork for the planning and successful enjoyment of subsequent trips. Thinking back on this trip makes me wonder about other couples whose relationships started with backpacking and also about everyone's first backpacking trip. I'd love to hear your stories and memories of your first trip out or how your backpacking partner became your life partner.
You can read more about my experience on this trip here.