I’m giving myself a day off. A day off in the backcountry! What luxury!
I slept in to 7:30, simply unheard of when I have to hike 25-30 miles, and am spending the morning reading in my sleeping bag. Reading, in addition to backpacking, is one of my great loves, and when I’m surrounded by quiet and no cell reception…no distractions…I can truely concentrate on what is in front of me. Today, that’s my Harpers. I’ve always found Harpers to be one of the only magazines I can read front to back, there’s poetry, essays, prose, quirky tidbits, social and political commentary…and I always come away from an issue having learned something. And I’ve downloaded a Steven King book on my phone, you know, for something easy, quick, and absorbing.
I’m only going to hike a few miles today, so laying around most of the morning is the most exquisit, relaxing, polar opposite thing I can think of to do in the middle of the Tetons. Sure I could do lots of hiking, see many more peaks and valleys, but really, my legs are tired and I have the CDT to devote my miles to.
I probably have something like 800-1,000 miles left to my trip, practically 1/3 of the entire length, but it already seems like this journey is coming to a close…why is that? I’ve heard “You’re almost done!” quite a bit lately, but am I? Some dream of taking a month to go hiking…the perspective can be quite unbalanced out here at times.
So I’ll hike a few miles today, make camp in another stunning spot in the Tetons, then hike out, hitch to Jackson, see about a shower, laundry, maybe pick up some town clothes in a thrift store, then fly to Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer Show.
I’m quite excited to be taking 5 days off for the show. This will be my 3rd time to one of the largest trade shows in the outdoor industry, and since I’m attempting to make the business of the outdoors my full-time career, it will not only be a chance to oogle new gear and meet old friends, but a chance to drum up some work potential for when I return home to Bend and need to pay the rent.
Trying to make a career as a freelance writer and designer in the outdoor industry could be challenging, but if there’s one thing I’ve always done, it’s put 100% of my energy towards doing what I love, and in this case the writing, the design, creativity, AND the outdoors combines just about everything that makes me get up in the morning. Isn’t that what we are all trying to do in this world? Find something fullfilling, something to get excited about, and pay the bills at the same time?
I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my life – post thru-hike. If the business of the outdoors is my specialty, I hope that allows me to spend more time…outdoors! Packrafting, backcountry skiing, rafting, sea kayaking, backpacking, biking, adventuring…I have to do it to be able to write about it, right?
Ya’ll will have a front row seat as I try to make this happen, I have some great ideas of how to translate my hike into art and opportunity when I get back, and I hope this blog serves to chronicle this journey even after I don’t have to hike 25 miles a day anymore.
So to give into this day, I have hours of reading, plenty of food, and an inspiring view to keep me company.
After finally starting my hike about noon, I came upon a group and immediately a woman asked if I was hiking the CDT. When I said yes, she exclaimed “She-ra! I’m reading your blog!” What a small world! Nancy was from North Carolina, but was out for a 5 day backpacking trip in the Tetons, and she’s been following my trip from the beginning! Wow, I was flattered and excited to meet someone who had been inspired by my stories. What a treat.
I hiked about 2 miles before deciding it was time for lunch, and settled on a rock ledge for a few hours. Then I hiked another 2 miles and found an amazing spot to camp on Death Canyon Shelf. I have an incredible view of the canyon, and spent the rest of the afternoon finishing my magazine…next my Steven King novel!
Even after a day of doing almost nothing, I’m still tired at 6:30. Tomorrow I’ll head to Jackson and get ready for my trip. It’s gotten off to a lesiurly and relaxing start!