On The Trail Again

I managed to get outside today before the winds returned, so I had a lovely trek in the desert. Oddly, after the hiatus from my faux backpacking trips, I could barely lift the pack, but once it was strapped on my back and resting on my hips, I hardly noticed the weight. Well, not much.

You’d think while I’m out sauntering around on desert trails, carrying an addition twenty-seven pounds (additional to my own weight, that is), that the urge to go backpacking would leave me since trekking with a pack is hard work, but nope. The hook remains. I’ll be interested to see if after I finally get out in the wilderness by myself, the desire will be as strong.

The other day, I was chatting with a friend who suggested that my Seattle trip should be just for my sisters (and dealing with Jeff’s ashes) rather than adding a short solo backpacking trek to the mix. She said, “Why not just do the longer trip in September?” My answer shocked both of us into laughter. “But what if I hate it?”

Despite that totally unexpected response, I truly do not think I will hate being out there by myself. I’ve hiked alone. Camped alone. Could it be so different?

I’m not really that naïve. Of course it could be different — a whole lot different. So, yes — a short backpacking trip first, a trip where someone can come get me if I run into trouble. Afterward, I can decide what comes next.

Meantime, there is the rest of my May trip to plan. As I am writing this, I am printing out a brochure for a San Andreas Fault road tour in the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Although I have no interest in driving along ghastly roads, the San Andreas Fault does interest me. Years ago, I went searching for the fault line (which, I discovered to my horror, was a mere ten miles from where I was living at the time), and though I found traces of the fault in displaced red earth and a lake (pond, really) that had been created by a fault sag (a place where the land sank as a result of earth movement along the fault) in the early twentieth century, there was no obvious indication of the fault, no break in the earth, no line. But apparently, in the Carrizo Plain, the line itself is visible. Probably looks like a dry creek bed up close, but still, if the weather, me, my car, and my nerves hold up, it might be an interesting tour.

Earlier today, I printed out information about the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park. I get a kick out of that — the idea of going from desert to rain forest in just a few days. Talk about jet lag! Car lag? Cultural lag? Geographic lag? Some kind of lag anyway.

It’s funny — January seemed about three months long, probably because I had added the practice backpacking trips to my normal schedule of dancing, blogging, reading (not writing, you might notice). But February evaporated. Just . . . disappeared. The four months until I start my May trip have shrunk to two months (although I call it my May trip, I will actually be leaving about this time in April).

Yikes. Still so much to do! By this time, I’d hoped to be further along in the weight addition category (being able to carry more weight in the pack), the weight reduction category (carrying less weight on me to keep my knees and feet from having to deal with extra poundage), the planning (though that is coming along quite nicely), and the writing. (I’d still like to finish that last work in progress before my life veers into a different direction.)

I better get cracking.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.