We were supposed to go on a four day backpacking trip in North NJ. It was supposed to be me, Betty, Brooke, Todd, and maybe John M. It was supposed to be one of those fun trips when new backpackers are along.
I dropped off the backpacks, a sleeping bag, and an inflatable sleeping pad for the new backers to use. I have lots of extra stuff. We all do. We backpackers. We replace what we have with lighter or more suitable gear. It’s part of the fun!
Anyway. Betty was unable to come. John had to much at home to do. My heel was causing me pain on short hikes with a pack. I knew it would be foolish for me to go 20 miles with a full pack on a sore foot.
I hate letting friends down. I hate making excuses, even valid ones. I lied so much when I drank and let people down, so often. I wanted to lie to Brooke! To say my wife broke her ankle or something and we had to cancel the trip. What is wrong with me??? Nothing. I’m an alcoholic. I had lots of practice lying about all sorts of things. Not anymore.
I came to my senses, called Brook and explained the situation. I made it a video call because I wanted to see her face when I told her I couldn’t go.
She looked relieved!
Thinking of ME only, I forgot how much anxiety I had before my first backpacking trip! It’s a whole different world out there. It can be scary. What I didn’t know, was that instead of Brooke entering my world, I would be entering hers!
I suggested that we just camp at Tohickon Valley Park as a practice overnight. Brooke got excited!
Now I know why!
Brooke is good at this! Really good at this! She had their tent set up and a whole car full of camping stuff when I arrived. Great stuff. Camp stove. Real food. Pots and pans. A coffee pot and cups. Chairs. Wood. Matches. Everything we needed!
It was so much fun! We hiked over to High Rocks and back. A very beautiful overlook next to Ralph Stover State Park. From the top you get a great view of the Tohickon Creek winding it’s way through the deep gorge.
When we returned, Brooke and Todd gathered wood and Brooke whipped up a picture perfect camp fire!
For dinner, Brooke and Todd ate vegetables, seasoned and cooked in foil over the fire. Me, I boiled water and ate my dehydrated rice with added chicken.
We settled into our chairs by the fire.
It was a perfect evening. We talked until quite some time past sundown. Stars began to show themselves through the trees.
We talked about the past. We talked about the future. We talked about backpacking. College. Parents. Children. Dogs. Friends who couldn’t come. Friends we maybe should invite next time.
We told stories.
I really like those two. They are a couple of special ones. Kind. Mature. Supportive. Selfless. Good people. Good friends.
I’m glad they found each other.
The original backpacking plan had begun to feel like too much. I know now that we would probably have been ok out there, but the practice run was good. I had all my trail gear with me and we talked about all of it. Those two will be fine out there. It will be fun, I’m sure of it now.
How can it not be a great trip when you hang out with friends like Brooke and Todd.
I slept great, broke camp, had breakfast, and headed to Easton for my Saturday trip to the Public Market. I think those two are spending another night there. 🙂 Part of me wants to join them for another evening by the fire.
They sure made me feel loved. I hope I did the same for them.
What a great change of plans. I was trying too hard to make it work. When I try that hard, something is wrong. The plan isn’t right. The time isn’t right.
When the plan and the time are right, things just happen smoothly, without much effort at all.
Another lesson learned.