Monday, February 11, 2019

Preparing for a long distance hike....all you need is less....


In writing about their preparations for long distance hikes people frequently discuss subjects such as how much physical training they are undergoing, where they plan to ship their food and supply drops, what equipment they are carrying, how they have made their packs lighter, and of course the mental preparation necessary getting ready to hike.  The amount of such planning of course varies from person to person, and trail to trail.  For long trails such as the Appalachian, Pacific Coast, and Continental Divide, in the USA, these types of preparations – understandably – rise to the level of manic obsession and reconsideration.  In the case of extremely long distance treks, such as Canada’s Great Trail at 24,000 km, preparations, doubts, and planning go into the stratosphere.  These days I waiver between trying to plan the entire venture and praying that I can figure things out day to day. 
Given the length of our planning, and preparations, which are nearing 3 years, the days now seem to be rushing past us with amazing speed, and there is still so much to do, to prepare for, and to plan.  Some of this is our own fault, I have procrastinated in donating some of my possessions, and in downsizing the house.  I have delayed “staging” the house to sell it, as I have never enjoyed those periods where you live in a space that is devoid of all that makes it yours. I have been slow with some of the packing to keep the familiar near me for ‘just another day’.  And of course I have repeatedly postponed finding new homes for my three beautiful cats.  (Perhaps the hardest part of this process for me)
I admit that some of this process feels good, the house has begun to feel more open, you get to relive memories and re-evaluate what is actually necessary to hold on to, and what you don’t truly need.   At times, it has been challenging to get rid of something that I have had since I was a child or to toss out items that remind me of my teenage and college years.  At other times, I am left amazed at how much stuff I have accumulated and am stunned at why I ever wanted or thought I needed so much of it.
My colleagues at work have been great at finding new homes for my plants and much of our furniture which means that very little is going to waste.  In addition, people in our region have been really great and very supportive.  Even my local pet store has offered to try to find new homes for my cats which is very kind of them.  In addition to all of this, we have received great online support and donations which have been of great help in preparing for our trek, getting supplies and preparing the digital classroom, so thank you all very much!
Beyond packing this weekend was spent getting my Hike Leader Certificate from Ontario Hikes, undergoing wilderness training  and – coolest of all – attending my first meeting of the Canadian Explorer’s Club in Toronto Ontario!!  With each of these courses and presentations I have made new connections and been given great advice.  There are so many individuals, outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, explorers, and birders who have offered their help!  The Canadian Wilderness really resonates with so many people – it is clearly part of all of us in so many ways.  I know that I am privileged to be able to go on this incredible trek across this beautiful country.  The experiences of those who have completed it and who are still struggling on it, serve as my inspiration everyday.  Despite any misgivings I have, and despite all my delays in packing up I am incredibly excited to begin trekking at the outset of June!!!!  I am excited to meet new people, have new experiences, and introduce the wonders of birding to people across the nation. 

As always we invite you to follow along by reading our regular blog, joining on Facebook, or subscribing to receive regular updates.  In addition to which all are welcome to join us for a kilometre or two along Canada’s Great Trail as we pass through your community.  We are interested to hear what you love about Canada and its wild spaces, as well as get tips on birds in your area or hot local birding spots that we can visit!  See you on the trail....



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