I am currently in the middle of the packing and moving process here at Oberlin. I’ve made sure to hang on to the essentials: my ukulele, The Oar of Truth, a cowboy hat (for Tennessee), a woodcut of JFK, and an old rug. Evidently, I’m starting to think that I left my sanity in storage somewhere because I may be going crazy.
At about 11am today I realized that I’m leaving in 4 days. Not just for a quiet little stroll. For a very very very long backpacking trip. I feel like I’ve been working through this trip for months, but now I’ve realized that I’m barely prepared.
I mean how the hell do you hang a bear bag anyway?
So the current situation: I’m leaving for Tennessee soon. At first I thought that I would be staying in Nashville, but I’m realizing more and more that if I want to get good backpacking in, I need to go to the Smokeys. So I’ll probably stop by Nashville to say howdy and then be on my merry way. I think instead I’ll actually be crashing at a commune in Chattanooga before going on some trail somewhere in the Smokeys. With no map, no guide, and a mediocre knowledge of how to use a compass. Please don’t freak out.
The main problem is that if I order anything online right now, it probably wont be shipped here in time for me to use in Tennessee. I’ve arranged for things to be mailed to Chicago if I need them, but then I’ll only be able to use them in Minnesota. Such items include but are not limited to: a lightweight jacket, food, fuel, a pack towel, and non-cotton clothes.
You can probably imagine that my mind has been flitting back and forth between cutting Tennessee completely out of my trip and just moving forward with it. But there’s this strong defiant force inside of me that keep pushing me forward. I’m going to do it. One way or another, I’ll be backpacking in Tennessee. I have 30 cliff bars. I have a jacket, and clothes, an oar, and a cowboy hat. I’ll be just fine.
Lewis and Clarke didn’t wait for the latest lightweight Patagonia nylon tank top to map out the frontier of the American West. I think I can handle Tennessee in a cotton shirt for a week.
Nonetheless, I feel extraordinarily uncomfortable right now. So I suppose my summer is starting out quite well—no comfort zones, no planning, no idea what I’m doing and where I’m going. Let’s do this?