It is amazing how the more you do something, the more comfortable you become with it. My first backpacking trip was much different than mine now. Welcome Contributor Andie Renner-Miller the blog today. She wrote this piece in the middle of the night on her first backpacking trip to calm her anxieties. I think you’ll enjoy it.

So I’m on my first overnight in the backcountry of Indiana. Have you seen the new Gilmore Girls where Lorelai sets out to hike the PCT? Ya know the part where she throws her pack by the road with a free sign on it? I’m really sympathizing with that feeling right now…

I didn’t come to this spot from a book or a movie, but from a love of hiking and spending time in the wilderness with my husband.  We have enjoyed our experiences as day hikers for a few years now and wished to expand our hiking horizons.

My husband and I hiked a lovely trail in southern Indiana. A more accurate description might be that we huffed and puffed while lugging ourselves up and down this trail with our heavy packs. About an hour into it I really started to see the value in those ultralight discussions. Anyway, we huffed and puffed, I mean hiked, until we found a spot in the backcountry that had a small bench in a mostly cleared area. We snapped up this spot because we felt blessed with a bench… it really is the small pleasures once you’re out there. We were feeling accomplished.

We set up camp then ate dinner, or at least that is what the package called it. I am not entirely convinced it wasn’t colored cardboard. After enjoying the sunset we went to bed.

All was going well….

Then came 2 a.m. and the sound of huffing just outside the tent. Yes, I am a city girl easing her way into this lifestyle. Yes, I am typing this to calm my nerves….

I’m not going to lie, this novice force of nature has turned into a mini earthquake. I realized that despite all the research, all the planning, all the effort into preparedness….yeah, we could’ve done more. I guess you can always do more.

To top it off I was blessed by an early visit from another force of nature. Thank the Lord I put some necessary items in my pack to always have in there just incase. So yeah, I got my period on my first overnight. Talk about trial by fire. Of course this meant I had to get up and go outside with whatever was huffing out there just 15 minutes ago. That definitely added a new layer to the adventure and learning curve.

So now as I sit here calming myself by typing this so I can laugh at myself later, my husband offers to pack up and hike back to the car. I voted for sticking this out….even if it means little to no sleep and outside checks every 20 minutes. Mini earthquakes are forces of nature too, even inside a 39-year-old woman.

At least the owl is cool to listen to…

I can’t wait for our next adventure.

I typed this on my phone as a way to calm myself after I was awakened from a dead sleep by the animal breathing at my feet. At 2 a.m. it could’ve been a tiny asthmatic squirrel, but it sounded like Sasquatch, and I had to go out and deal with my period with a big hairy monster lurking in my head.

I’ve never fallen out of a tent before, I didn’t know one could fall out of a tent, but I managed to find a way that night. It seems that this trip was designed to show me I could do it. I most assuredly did not look like any of the ads, blog pictures, or even like I knew what an REI store was. I did not look like a hiker, but I survived and I did it laughing. If I can do it so can the next woman, the next first timer, the next chick who will find the force of nature lurking inside her!

One comment on “Sticking It Out

  1. Love this story, and would to love to hear more from herb and her next overnighters! One day I’ll have the guts and time to do some overnight hiking trips. It’s nice to see someone who didn’t have a perfect first experience and still wanting to do it again! Keep it up!!

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