A lot of the time in the midwest consumerism and patriotism can look a lot alike, and every public holiday is an excuse
About this time a week ago, John and I were on the very last leg of a backpacking vacation in Yellowstone and the Tetons with my parents. We were on day number six of a six day and five night trek around the Tetons. At that time, I was looking forward to nothing more then my first shower in a week.
(The Yellowstone portion of the vacation was a couple of days of “normal” camping and hiking while my Dad got acclimated to the change in altitude.)
When I saw we hiked around the Tetons, I mean that quite literally. We hiked around Grand Teton, Middle Teton, and South Teton.
My parents really enjoy backpacking, and have been going to backpacking trips at least once a year for quite a few years now. So sometime last year I hit upon the brilliant idea that I wanted to try it out. I wanted to see what my parents enjoyed so much about it, and also I wanted to have a chance to share a vacation with them, doing something that they love. So I proposed a backpacking vacation with them.
We started making plans, and John and got the equipment we needed and we started training for it by hiking longer and longer distances with weights (we used lot of 1 liter water bottles) in our frame packs. And I felt ready. There were some things that I felt a bit nervous about, sure, but in general I felt ready.
It turned out that I was not ready.
My parents are machines. John and I were struggling to keep up most of the time. (I can only hope that I am still as active and in share as my parents are when I am their age.)
I learned a lot about myself on the trip. I learned that while I will always enjoy car camping and day hiking in national parks (which I was introduced to by my parents over the course of many many family vacations while I was growing up), backpacking (other then maybe short, overnight trips) will never really be my thing. I like indoor plumbing a lot and I don’t like going for too long without showering or washing my hair. None of these are bad things, but I still kind of wished that I could enjoy the backpacking as much as, and in the same was, as my parents do.
And there were certainly things that I enjoyed.
We saw a lot of wildlife. There was a new beautiful vista around each bend in the trail. It was incredibly peaceful. The weather was gorgeous. I took over 1000 photos, and have (after a week) finally gotten them processed and posted them (not all of them, but a lot of them) on flickr. The Yellowstone photos are here. The Teton backpacking photos are here.
All in all, it was certainly a trip of a lifetime. I am glad that I did it. And my parents are right, there is a feeling of accomplishment and there are certain bragging rights that you get when you complete a trip like this one was.
So thanks. Thanks to John for indulging me, and thanks to my parents for both indulging me and for helping to make everything possible. I sure couldn’t have done any of it without all of you, and I really appreciated it.
Next family vacation, lets all go someplace warm where we can go snorkeling.