Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hiking or Homeless?

I can't believe this was last weekend already. I meant to write about this right away but was so busy this week.

I exercise exactly twice every year and somehow I am surprised when I end up sore and blistered after hiking seven miles with 40 pounds on my back.

I went on the annual Troop 42 backpacking trip to Brendan T. Bryne State Forest over the weekend of 18/19 March. This state park is named for the NJ Governor from the 1970s who is best remembered for building the Meadowlands and sounding like Elmer Fudd.

"New Joisey an eww, purfuct togever" He used to say in commercials.

I've been on these things before and usually I know what I'm in for. A 40 pound pack with too much of everything including:
  • A sleeping bag that is way too heavy to be lugging around on back packing trip (but if I needed to, I could re-enter Earth's atmosphere in because of it's thermal properties)
  • A tent that was not chosen by weight
  • A tarp
  • A small stove and fuel
  • Food for 24 hours. 48 if need be.
  • Water for 24 hours.
  • Clothes for 20 degree nights.
  • Extra stuff for the scout that didn't follow the "Be Prepared" thing.

I usually bring stupid things too. The first year I went, we hiked 5 miles up and down hills and I had brought along my Palm pilot. What was I thinking? Was I going to schedule meetings for my week? cleanup my address book? Writing my memoirs in grafiti?

I nearly tossed the thing on the second day.

Once we arrived at our camp site I examined my screaming feet. Sure enough two giant blisters had formed on the balls of my feet.
I applied some moleskin (a not-so-stupid thing to bring) and settled in.

While we were all huddled out in the cold (it was about 28 overnight) making our freeze dried dinners, I realized that this wasn't really different from being homeless. Well, really it was closer to being like a hobo since, at least in my mind, a hobo implies movement and we did hike 7 miles. The homeless stay in one spot.

That is really the thing about scouts, it does prepare you for situations like this. When the rest of you are trying to figure out bag dinners in the coming nuclear winter or The Day After Tomorrow I'll be warm and full. I'll know that you need a ground mat when sleeping and to change your underwear before going to sleep. Ha.

Since fires were not permitted due to conditions, we all went to sleep early. I usually sleep great when it is cold like that and this night was no different. I did wake up in the middle of the night with my head stuck in my mummy bag. I had somehow gotten twisted up and my ear was sticking out of the air hole.

The next day me feet were killing me and rather than risk further pain I volunteered to be the shuttle vehicle driver for the morning hike out.

My feet thanked me on Monday.


stephanie said...

can i say without insulting you that the scouts have always somehow scared a "jew" like me? :)

Celina said...

Scouts Rock! I know that no matter what situation we're in, my dear hubby (once a scout, always a scout) & I will SURVIVE!! Sucks about the blisters! And, lol about the palm pilot! That's like me & my cell phone (nobody is important enough to interrupt my camping trip, AS IF we even had "towers")!!

roofing company nj said...

That is awesome and i am also love hiking i never experience it but i love to experience it for one time and it seems not much easy as i think but i still want it and i hope it is very enjoying.