I suppose we are natural planners, thinking weeks in advance of items we’d need to be 100% self-sufficient. We know the checklist of personal hygiene items that are a must and have traveled knowing no CVS is around the corner to save us. We have a keen idea of what types of shelf stable foods are tolerable or too loaded with salt to stand 2 days in a row. We have passes many a day with much less entertainment and creature comforts than are currently in our homes. And, we’ve faced the question of whether or not our skill set has us prepared to handle medical emergencies in remote and isolated areas. Places where self-rescue is the only option. Maybe we are just a few months more experienced at this whole situation than the average American.
But as I ponder these questions, I feel like inherently there is something more to the backpacker make-up, some philosophical difference deep down. We’ve chosen to unplug and walk into the wild to test our fortitude before. We’ve relished in the quiet simplicity of nature and the time away from the buzz of streets. We somehow haven’t found enough challenge in modern life that we have sought out a more rugged terrain.
Now that this pandemic challenge is real and pressing, almost squeezing us from all invisible corners of the earth, I feel somehow prepared from within. And not because I have a few rolls of toilet paper, or for that matter, could care less if toilet paper is what I run out of since I am of the breed of mankind willing to poo in the woods. And not because I might have a few bags of Mountain House laying around before Amazon ran out. I feel strong from the inside. I feel like I’ve faced uncertainty before. I feel scrappy and reliant on my own wits. I feel like the isolation has been conquered before and will subside as I settle in to the routine.
I think backpackers must be feeling the same way. No less terrified by the unknown virus than the rest of society, but somehow more assured in facing the challenge after having honed in those skills mile after mile in the wilderness.
So if you are out there wondering the same thing, drop me a note. We are still in this together.