Stories From Stanley, Idaho

The Saga of A Backpacker

The Saga of A Backpacker

It always starts the same way every time. You pore over your maps, planning the most ideal route. Carefully calculating mileage, timing, meals, everything. The excitement the day before you hit the trail is unruly and incomparable. With your boots tight on your feet, your pack synched to your back, and your spirits high, you hit the trail into an endless stream of possibilities. Every step brings you closer to your destination, every curve in the trail is a new experience, and every day you can feel your body getting stronger. At the end of the trip you look back on your time and know that no matter what, at that moment, that was the best couple of days of your life.


This is how I feel when I go backpacking. This is what makes every painful pass and ceaseless mile completely worth the time and energy I put forth. However, most of what I do is solo. It is just me and the trail and my mind as I trek down to new uncharted areas. Yes, I am alone. Yes, I am a female. Yes, I am young… But no, I am not lonely, crazy, or afraid. This week I thought it was important to talk about the reason why we all go into the backcountry, and why it is important to not put down a solo female hike, and make her feel inferior or have a reason to be afraid.


I recently went on a 38 mile solo journey through our amazing Sawtooth Wilderness. I spoke to so many kind souls, heard stories from other hikers, and learned a lot about myself. However, before I embarked on this journey, I was also told many times that I should not be by myself. I, as a young female, should always have someone else with me at all times while in the backcountry. My question to them, to you, is why? Why should I feel so fragile and afraid to go out into the Wilderness on my own? My answer to that question is simple, and I believe that if you close your eyes for a minute, you will also be able to answer this question in a similar manner. I enjoy my solo trips for many reasons, as I am sure you do as well. Alone time is important for many of us, especially those who work continuously and so closely with the public. This gives us time to answer questions of our own, instead of constantly answering the same questions over and over again, like “where’s the bathroom?” or “where can I camp?” When I go into the backcountry it is to reconnect with my main resource, nature. I go back there in order to find myself all over again, to ask myself the hard questions during the silence of my hike. As I listen to the steady beat of my boots falling against the trail, feel the fresh air brush against my skin, and reawaken every cell in my body I learn to be patient, to be strong, and to be me.


Now this is simply a personal account of my solo trips. So I ask, I plead, that you, male or female, think back to your last solo trip. Maybe it was a walk around the block back home. Maybe it was last week when you took the dog to the park. Or maybe you were like me and decided to trek into the Wilderness for a few days. Think about how that alone time made you feel. Were you rejuvenated? Did you feel awake and calm? Why take that away from someone else, purely based on the fact that you believe they should always be in the presence of someone else? Group trips are a wonderful time as well. So please, don’t think that I am sitting here bashing those types of trips. They allow for you to have someone to share that beautiful sunrise with. You can complain about that wicked pass you are staring straight up at. You can talk about this trip for years to come, and you can split that tent into two packs (which I wish I could do sometimes). However, we have to respect all the other hikers that we come across. Listen to their stories and ask questions.


I did run into people who did give me words of encouragement. Women who said they wish they could have done something like this when they were my age. Men who said they hoped their daughters would grow up to be confident in nature and their outdoor abilities. I ran into groups who were even excited for me. I wanted to write this for you all just as a simple reminder that we have our reasons for being alone. We are skilled in backpacking and confident in those skills. Just like you, we pored over those maps, we calculated those miles, and we planned out every meal. Next time you see a solo female hiker on the trail, give her words of encouragement, not words of doubt.

Source Url: http://stanleycc.org/the-saga-of-a-backpacker/



Featured Local Events

DATE: March 2 - 4, 2018

TIME: Multi-times

LOCATION: Park Creek Ski Area, Alturas Lake Ski Area, Community Building, Stanley, ID

March 3rd & 4th, 2018 — Sawtooth Ski Club 16th Annual Ski Festival

  • SATURDAY, March 3rd, Park Creek Ski Area
    Highway 21, 7 miles W. of Stanley
    11am-2pm Homemade Chili & Treats
    Poker Run!!!
    Winning hand called at 1:30 pm
  • SATURDAY EVENING 5:30-8:30pm
    Stanley Community Building
    Dinner Extravaganza
    Incredible Silent Auction, bring your checkbook!
  • SUNDAY, March 4th
    Alturas Lake Ski Area
    Highway 75, 20 miles S. of Stanley
    11am-3pm Soup Kitchen Social
    Great ski trails and a great time!!!

The Sawtooth Ski Club will host the 16th Sawtooth Ski Festival March 3rd and 4th. Come ski, play, feast, dance, shop and socialize, all while supporting Cross Country Skiing in Stanley Sawtooth Country! At 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 3rd at the Park Creek Ski Trails, homemade chili and treats will await eager participants at the annual Poker Run. Donating fun lovers ski or snowshoe a fun course, stopping at stations to collect cards and when the game is called at 1:30, whoever has collected the best poker hand wins a most excellent prize! At 5:30 Saturday evening at the Stanley Community Building, our ski club celebrity chef will present a delicious dinner and at the same time an amazing silent auction will take place. Many local businesses, arts and crafts people and friends of the club donate lovely things, wonderful services, ski and fashion accessories and deliciously fantastic items to the auction. At 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 4th at the Alturas Lake Ski Trails Soup Kitchen Social, enjoy great skiing along with with trailside soup and cookies. All events are donation based, so be sure to bring your check book or cash for the donation jars. The Sawtooth Ski Festival is our only fundraising event of the year. We depend on memberships, donations and Ski Festival proceeds to fund our efforts to provide quality groomed cross country ski trails at Park Creek and Alturas lake. Call Karen Keiski at 208-774-3487 if you wish to volunteer for any of the events or donate to the silent auction. See you at the Festival!


LINK: http://sawtoothskiclub.com/

TEL: 208-774-3487

CONTACT: David or Karen keiski@ruralnetwork.net


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