Monday, March 7, 2016

The weight of stuff

Near-towns hikes used to be where I’d go when time was limited, back when I lived in a town.  Now, towns are places to pass through briefly to stock up on groceries and find wifi.  Driving through Gallup, NM on the way to go backpacking, the rock formation above town looked interesting enough to check out on a dayhike at Red Rock Park.

Starting out, the urban feel pervades.  Parking is by the Church Rock post office, then walking through trash-strewn, wide open sand. 
Heading out from the Church Rock Trailhead.
My backpack is filled up with stuff, not my daypack but my full pack. For a six mile dayhike, but what else can I do?  Backpacking gear, electronics, and laptop (which I have along for my wifi pilgrimage—yes that’s for you, dear readers, so I can upload my blog posts). 
Getting closer to Church Rock
Ever since my tire was slashed several years ago at a trailhead, I don’t feel safe leaving valuables in my trunk at trailheads.  
Getting close to the edge to look into the depths of the canyon.
As much as I try to convince myself it’s ALL replaceable.  I think about what it was like when my house was broken into a few years ago and the box where I kept all my mementos and jewelry from my mom and great-grandma was stolen.  In some ways, it freed me to loose all that. Nothing I have now holds meaning like those items. 
Tall ponderosa peeking out.
Now it’s about the financial cost and the time it would take to sew all new DIY gear when my sewing machine is 2000 miles away.  And I want to protect myself from feeling that kind of loss again.  Also, maybe I’m more attached to my hammock and DIY top quilt that I’ve carried for so many miles than I want to admit.
A tree.  Pretty to look at but not one I’d want to hang from. 
Once I start climbing, it feels good to have the weight against my back.  Centered, balanced, energizing.  The laptop fills in for the weight of food, and it feels like heading out for a few days on the trail. 
The view from on top of Pyramid Rock provided perspective on the whole valley and Zuni Mountains to the south.
Maybe my legs are strengthened by carrying all this along.  Maybe this is keeping me in shape for backpacking.  After all, I’m always glad when I head out backpacking and my pack feels weightless since I’m so used to carrying a full pack around all the time.

Or maybe that’s just rationalizing.  What would it feel like to be totally free to leave it all behind?

More information

Red Rock Park


  1. Hi! Stuff. I did not want my stuff back when we settled down. It wasn't a lot, but it was a lot. And now, of course, we've got even more of it all. I'd love to go through and get rid of even more!

    Happy hiking! Stay safe!

    1. Thanks, Misti! The wanting less stuff sure is one of the legacies of being a backpacker, especially after coming back from the long hikes.