4 lessons from that first trip
Buy lightweight rain gear and always have it with you. We researched the weather like I had never done before. Before hiking with my honey, I just prepared for all weather and didn’t look at the forecast. But my Sugar melts in the rain so I watched the sky closely to choose the right day. The forecast was perfect so off we went with my guard down. She got wet that second day when rain surprised us. Although she did not melt, she was uncomfortable without her lightweight rain gear.
Practice setting up a new tent no matter how many others you have set up. I could whip up a tent in a flash with the best of them. I had set up many small tents made for backpacking and back country camping. But this time, I was embarrassed when it began to rain because water came into the tent. This old large 6 man tent had to be firmly fastened to the ground perfectly flat before you could extend the poles to full height…oops! I didn’t do that and our gear got wet.
Secure the right shoes—don’t skimp. God has blessed me with tough feet and balance like a goat. As a result I don’t give much thought to the terrain when I select my shoes. I may wear trail running tennis shoes, ankle high boots or just go minimal with a pair of water shoes on a rainy day. I dress my feet based on my mood and the experience I want to have. Bad idea when helping my Baby pick shoes. She wanted to know what the trail surface was like and I tried my best to remember. She withdrew a pair of hiking sandals that would have done well on what I described and off we went to explore. About a half a mile in we both realized that we should have invested the time to dig out her high top boots from the car trunk. It was a slow and rough walk at times. She is a tough soldier when she has to be and we still had fun but we leaned to go over-prepared on the shoes.
Assemble your new toys before you leave for your trip. To help me deliver on the image of a warm cozy fire I had painted, I had bought a new folding saw. Normally I use two trees close together, trap a long branch in between and break off a piece. I didn’t think I could gather enough wood with that method. It looked simple to assemble and I left it in the package not realizing that there was a one time assembly that required some tools. After that it is a nice compact foldable backpackers toy. Well you guessed it, I was dragging large branches through the woods and breaking them for the fire without my new saw. To my delight she was impressed when she turned around to see me with what she perceived to be an entire tree on my shoulder. It was about 40 feet long and I guess it gave me that Daniel Boone look with it on my shoulder. It was fun to impress her with my wood gathering skills but it would have been better to have had my saw.
So save yourself some sticky situations by practicing the assembly of any new equipment and don’t cut corners on the rain gear or the boots.