I used to think I was so efficient packing in a matter of minutes for an overnight trip into the woods, a river trip, or a biking adventure. I had it down to a science, since I was out almost every single weekend (if I wasn't traveling for work). The houses I rented during those years with friends were nothing more than places to store my stuff. I lived pretty minimally, I didn't own much, and it seemed I was never ever home. I guess you could say the outdoors was my home at that time in my life. It was my living room and my bedroom and everything in between.
I would go with the bare minimum on many of the trips....a sleeping bag, pad, a tarp in case of rain, water, water filter, and some food that didn't need to be heated (sure, some emergency stuff, but nothing I didn't need). I went on a few ultralight adventures and these were my favorites. We could cover a lot of ground and setup/break down camp quickly and move into some pretty awesome country. Places that would be a little more difficult to get to if you were wearing a huge pack. The sights we could see on those trips were so amazing...scaring up Elk and Deer in the high rocky outcrops, scree slopes we could scramble up in a breeze, and mountain meadows teeming with every sort and color of wildflower.
I tossed in a couple chem lights which ended up being a "hit" with the girls and doubled as a nightlight in the tent.
I'm so glad I had these experiences. I'll carry them with me forever.
It is a huge dichotomy to what my outdoor trips are now with a child... The trips are equally (if not more) rewarding although they couldn't be more different in every way, and one requires much more planning.
I used my old packlist last week to use for the basics and I crossed off quite a few items and added a lot more; including but not limited to the following: plenty of varied snacks, more food than necessary, books, many more clothing layers than might have been necessary (better to be safe than sorry was what I was thinking when I packed for this first one), pull up diapers, big girl underwear, wipes, (I actually considered bringing her porta potty since she is potty training, I KNOW, completely ridiculous. Thankfully Astrid loves to squat and tinkle and poo in the grass!) deet free bug spray, tons of sunscreen, favorite blanket, favorite comfort item "Hippie", pretty much extra evvvvverrrythiiiiing.
Astrid's buddy Jessie brought some of her beads. She shared with her in the tent.
When we started planning this trip a few weeks ago I figured I would have her in the backpack and then just hang everything from it with caribiners. We were hoping to get to Glen Lake in the Bitterroots but with further thought we realized it would be a mosquito fest at the lake so we decided on the good old Rattlesnake Recreation Area for our first try at backpacking with the little gals. The Rattlesnake is 4.5 miles North of Missoula. We set a course up the main Rattlesnake Corridor with a nice wide double track. Two of my friends settled in on the idea of bringing strollers. Brilliant! I took the idea and ran with it! I'm glad I opted for this route since Astrid split her time between riding and hiking.
On the way out Astrid caught a catnap in the stroller. Photo by Sharon Hood.
We met at the trailhead at 5:30pm. It gave us time for Sharon to get out of work and pick up her daughter Jessie, for Astrid to get her afternoon nap, and for us to have time to get settled into camp before nightfall.
The trek took 3 hours to make it 4 miles... Astrid (2) and Jessie (3), had a major game of musical chairs. They were in their strollers, they were in each other's strollers, they were back out and on the trail again. I'm pretty sure it was because of these two that it took us so long. We found butterflies and snakes, we ran and we walked, we juggled snacks and drinks and we blew decided on a campsite around 9:15 pm.
The gals stayed up until 11:30 pm and us big girls stay up until 2:00 am. A good time was had by all. I did not get very much sleep, as I had suspected, but it was mostly due to staying up til 2am. But it was so nice to wake up in a tent in the Montana wilderness with my girls by my side.
The plan is to go again in August...maybe next time I'll attempt the backpack! Astrid is already a fan of the tent and this makes me very happy...