Saunters With a Backpack

Part of me actually seems to think I am backpacking in the desert on the weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), though what I am really doing is sauntering with a backpack and then going back to my room and collapsing. Makes me wonder: if I am fulfilling some masochistic need to wander carrying an extra twenty-five pounds, will I still want to go on a wilderness trek by myself when I take my trip to Washington state this May? I mean, if I’ve already done it, what’s the point, right?

And yet, I’ve already walked a hundred thousand miles in my life, and I still like walking, so I imagine it’s just a matter of continuing to get used to the backpack. And besides, all it takes is one little thing to get me all excited about adventuring again. (Adventuring beyond “my” desert, that is.)

And I am excited. Today I received the loveliest gift — a travel journal, but like no travel journal I have ever seen. Some of the pages are lined, of course, but some pages are blank, some have a pretty border, some are a brown kraft paper (is that redundant?), some are gridded like graph paper, and intermingled among all these different pages are glassine envelopes and storage pockets.

I tend not to use fancy books with empty pages because I like the promise the blank pages seem to make, and if I do decide to use such a book, I will write a few things then get bored with it, as with the diaries I used to get occasionally as a little girl. In fact, my travel journal for my cross country trip ended up being more of a ledger to keep track of mileage and expenses than a journal. Not a fun memento, but a valuable one for keeping track of dates repairs and maintenance were done on the car. (In my favor, I did keep up my blog, so it’s not as if all those adventures when undocumented.)

But this travel journal feel different. It seems to urge me toward adventure. And oh, what fun I will have trying to fill all the different kinds of pages! If nothing else, finding joys to fill the journal will force me to look at things in a different way. And if by chance I don’t fill the book on this spring journey, I will simply have to plan more adventures.

It will give “work in progress” a different meaning. Instead of sitting at a computer trying to finish my novel, I will have to go out and see what I can discover to add to my travel journal.

Sounds like fun.

Meantime, I have my saunters with a backpack to keep me busy

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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.

Waiting to See What I Will See

I strapped on my backpack today and went out walking in the desert again. I’m surprised that the twenty-one pound pack doesn’t bother me all that much, though by the end of four miles, I did get a little wobbly. The cold wind today didn’t help, especially when it blew my hat down so I could only see a few feet of the ground ahead of me. So for all I know, this is what the desert looked like today.

Yeah, right. I would guess, no matter how little of the scenery I saw today, it was nowhere near as beautiful as the photo, which I took during my cross country trip on the Overlook Azalea Trail in Georgia’s Calloway Gardens. The Azalea Trail has understandably been called the most beautiful place on earth, though the California Poppy Preserve in Antelope Valley is a close contender.

But, even if today I didn’t see such vibrant April color (both photos were taken in April, though two years and a continent apart), I also didn’t see a skull in a bucket, like a friend of mine did. The skull incident happened several years ago so, although the bucket was found on a trail I have been walking, I am not in any danger of my skull ending up in such a place (so not an item on my bucket list!)

Although I’ve been feeling as if I Want to Run Away, the truth is, I also want to run toward. There is so much of this country I haven’t seen, so many fabulously beautiful places that are waiting to delight my eyes (and yours!). Fall in Virginia. Summer in Glacier Park. Lovely lakes hidden in the back country. Wildflower meadows beyond the bend. Peaks and valleys, creeks and twisty trails.

Luckily, I will be getting a peek at the wider world when I take a trip to the Pacific Northwest this May. I can hardly wait to see what I will see.

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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.