On Sunday I was watching TV when I hear “F*CKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK F*CK F*CK F*CK F*CK F*CKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK” coming from outside. Alarmed, I went to the look out our glass doors to see what was happening. Through the slats in the balcony, I could see our downstairs neighbor out on his patio shaking his fist and shouting obscenities.
He’s been a low-key and quiet neighbor, so I was surprised to see him so upset. I poked my head out and asked him everything was okay, and he said that he just realized that slugs were destroying his plants. He was UPSET. He spends so much time on his porch taking care of his little patio garden, and has even jazzed up our walkway with pots of flowers and succulents. He really really REALLY loves flowers and he was really really devastated. Poor fella.
When I went hiking on Saturday I stopped to talk to a park ranger before I took off. He looked at my backpack and asked me how many days I was planning to be out there. I said it was just a day trip, and he laughed at me then asked why I had so much stuff.
My confidence in my outdoors skills and abilities is very low, and I constantly feel like I am doing it wrong. The other day I started worrying that I was improperly hiking. And by that I mean walking incorrectly. I do not know that there is a truly “wrong” way to walk, but even though I have been on the move for over 30 years via my legs, I became obsessed with the fact that my gait was not efficient or correct. It was silly. Anyway, his comment immediately pushed my brain into an anxiety spiral where I felt like I was suddenly very stupid and ridiculous for carrying a backpack.
My pack is only 30 liters, but suddenly it seemed huge. I do not have a robust collection of hiking backpacks, so when I purchased this one the goal was that it would suit 95% of my hiking needs. I have my super large pack for overnight hikes and traveling, but I did not see a need to buy multiple backpacks for day trips. I was so bewildered by his comment that I could not answer for what seemed like three hours in my head. I finally stammered that I just pack for hiking as if I might get lost or injured (a first-aid kit, a jacket, water filtration system, lots of snacks, extra socks, toilet paper…). He then responded that he was going to go ahead and write down my name and path, and if my car was not gone by sunset, then he would call search and rescue for me.
While I did not appreciate his backpack snark, I am all for search and rescue if I am not back in time. YES PLEASE. I worry so much that I will get injured while hiking and not be able to get back out, so this was honestly a huge relief for me. I made it back in plenty of time before sunset, and the ranger was pleased to see I had survived.