All I Want Is A Normal Life

Musings from a girl named Normal.

Wilderness Travel Course

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Last year, I really wanted to get into backpacking. Arno (the Ex who I don’t know that I’ll ever get over) introduced me to backpacking as a more than casual hobby, and I really didn’t know how to get going on it without him. I mean, it’s a lot of gear to haul around on just one really feeble body. FUN FACT: if you’ve seen me, you know that I appear to be of average build, when, in fact, I’m of small build with quite a bit of fat… 41 lbs of fat, to be exact, according to my doctor. I’m basically no muscle and have a really lame skeleton. FUN FACT: I’ve broken my arms a total of six times, collectively. So having a helpful (and strong) porter to assist in the gear haul has been absolutely essential to a fine backpacking experience.

Except when that porter dumps you and leaves you wanting the hobby but hating the memories. FUN FACT: the relationship ended THREE years ago, and, for all intents and purposes I’ve moved on — I have a new and fantastic and truly wonderful boyfriend, David, who loves me and is thoughtful and funny and interesting — but there are still several things that trigger a vomitous response in my central chest area… backpacking and camping has been one of those

Last year, I decided I had to get into backpacking to make my own memories that didn’t involve Arno… memories that had to do with me, strong and independent, doing things I never thought I could do! Exciting! Wild! Adventurous!

So a friend of mine referred me to the Wilderness Travel Course, offered by the Angeles chapter of the Sierra Club. It seemed to be exactly what I needed! Friends to go backpacking with in an equal, non-relationshipey, fun, empowering environment! I enrolled immediately and started attending the weekly courses in West Los Angeles (this was before I realized Pasadena would have been closer), reading the assigned chapters in the book, and doing all this homework on navigation, map-reading, rock-jumping, and basically everything I wanted to know.

And then I broke my arm.

I tried to stick with the program, but I could barely tie my shoes, let alone lift a backpack or operate as a functional, independent, adventurous, empowered woman. They let me know that I probably couldn’t come on the part of the trip that involved rock climbing (um, duh). I was crushed by it all, since I was finally doing something proactive about my heartache.

This year, though, my arm is much better and the course is coming up in January again. I’m enrolling and nothing can stop me, and this time, I’m training for the course before it starts. I want to be able to soar up the mountains on agile legs, lifting 40 lbs of stuff with no effort and enjoying blister-free feet because my trail shoes are completely broken in! And so I’m training daily, hiking up my mountain every morning for at least an hour with Diva, who is hardly able to keep up.

I’m going to do this and nothing can stop me.

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Written by normalslife

September 5, 2008 at 2:40 pm

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