Testament of a hiker, and a thank you to Robert Traver

I fish because I love to; Because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly; -Robert Traver   Thus begins one of my favorite poems, “The Testament of a Fisherman,” in which the poet, Robert Traver, (penContinue reading “Testament of a hiker, and a thank you to Robert Traver”

Becoming a Backpacker, Chapter 8: Flash Floods and Changes of Plans

As we left the trailhead in Harpers Ferry, mist quickly wetted our clothing and skin. The forest felt lush, and we easily followed the white blazes along a trail that was alternately soft packed dirt, puncheon, and lichen-covered rock. Eventually the mist stopped, but there were thunderstorms in the forecast for later on in theContinue reading “Becoming a Backpacker, Chapter 8: Flash Floods and Changes of Plans”

Becoming a Backpacker, Chapter 7: Adventures on the AT: Hosteling in Harpers Ferry

Our second day on the Appalachian Trail was more steamy green tunnel with bigger ups and downs than I was used to, being a Midwesterner. The bliss of being on the trail had not worn off though, and as we sweated our way down the trail, we laughed about what our friends back in Michigan,Continue reading “Becoming a Backpacker, Chapter 7: Adventures on the AT: Hosteling in Harpers Ferry”

Becoming a Backpacker, Chapter 5: Pictured Rocks

I was feeling practically like an expert as I prepared for a long weekend hike of Pictured Rocks in May. I expected that it could be at least as cold in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as it had been on my two previous backpacking trips in lower Michigan, even though it was later on in theContinue reading “Becoming a Backpacker, Chapter 5: Pictured Rocks”

Becoming a Backpacker, Chapter 4: A Forced March on the MRT

A month after my first backpacking trip, I was signed up for another group hike–this time, a different group. We would be hiking the Manistee River Trail, and a section of the North Country Trail which covered the opposite side of the Manistee River. Right from the start, this was another good learning experience, asContinue reading “Becoming a Backpacker, Chapter 4: A Forced March on the MRT”

Chapter 3: Trying Not to Freeze

My First Backpacking Trip: High Country Pathway As March approached, I signed up for a weekend backpacking trip listed on a Facebook page. It began at a state forest campground, with a day hike on Saturday, followed by a short hike to a backcountry campsite, and then a longer hike back to the car Sunday.Continue reading “Chapter 3: Trying Not to Freeze”

Becoming a Backpacker, Chapter 2: Rounding Up Gear

Gear selection was tricky. For one, I’m a complete cheapskate. Secondly, I actually had very little money. Working three part time jobs had been my reality since getting remarried and moving to a new town, giving up the security of the full-time teaching position I’d had for the last 17 years. I was making aboutContinue reading “Becoming a Backpacker, Chapter 2: Rounding Up Gear”