How Do You Want To Be Remembered?
(The 10 Essentials-Intro)
When it comes to hiking, the question I get asked most often by new hikers is, “What Should I Take?” The next few blog entries will cover the basics so that you will never feel unprepared again. The most commonly accepted list of necessary items is called “The Ten Essentials”, and here we will put them in simple “Dame” language. However, before we do that, we have to ask the question, “Why do we have to carry anything at all?”
When you read the list of essential items to carry in your backpack, you will most likely be saying to yourself, “I am only going for a short hike……surely I do not need all of this!” I used to feel like that, too. Then I read an article in Backpacker Magazine on getting lost in the woods. The basic idea was that if you are to ever be lost in the woods, and require rescue, do you want to be known as the hiker that was prepared and simply ran into some bad luck? Or do you want to be the hiker that all of the search and rescue folks are rolling their eyes at? Of course, safety and self preservation are the appropriate reasons for being prepared in the woods. But I have to tell you……..for me, there is also a pride factor. J I don’t want anyone shaking their heads behind my back and saying, “Man, she didn’t even have any water on her!”
Years ago, there was a local story here about two women and their daughters hiking a short mile up to a waterfall at a local state park. Somehow, they got off of the well-worn path and continued to trek an extra eight miles to the top of Springer Mountain. They had nothing with them. A backpacker met them and shared enough of his gear to help them spend a very uncomfortable night in the woods before they hiked back down the next day. To this day, I think of those women when I pack my day pack. The chance of me doing something stupid in the woods is always there, but I refuse to be the hiker remembered for years as someone so inadequately prepared.
I also would rather not be the hiker that has to rely on another backpacker to survive the night. Backpackers, by their very design, carry the absolute bare necessities. They pack just enough to keep themselves safe. As hikers and backpackers, we all watch out for each other and help one another whenever necessary. I just want to make sure that if I ever do need to rely on another hikers resources, that it is outside the realm of my own basic preparedness. Does that make sense?
In any case, a Trail Dame needs to approach hiking with common sense and forethought, so keep reading as we dive into the Essential Dame Necessities you need to carry.
Anna aka Mud Butt