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Over vs. Under Prepared

Daniel and I, we possess some similar character traits but we also have some key differences. These are the things that make our relationship work, but can also make it challenging. That is the way it goes with everyone I suppose... if we spent our lives with carbon copies of ourselves we would never improve in areas we are lacking, and we would probably be bored, having no one to challenge us. 


Recently one of the Instagram accounts that I follow (CampmanStore) posted a photo with the caption: "Are you an over-packer or under-packer when backpacking?"


I commented that I was an under-packer married to an over-packer.


They responded with "So what you are saying is either your husband carries a really heavy pack or you sneak stuff out when he's not looking? Either way, sounds like an interesting dynamic."


And they are right, it is an interesting dynamic!


I went on to share a snippet of a time that Daniel and I simultaneously over and under packed: "A bit of both 😜 We have over-carried water when hiking to remote areas in Hawaii, while simultaneously forgetting eating utensils. I'll let you guess who was in charge of which. Let's just say a toothbrush can totally work as a spoon..."


Looking back at an old journal, I realized that on this trip, we had also forgotten our cooking fuel, a water bladder, camera, Daniel's glasses, and our camping permit! One mile into the hike, Daniel actually went back to retrieve everything but the eating utensils and camera (we were at our campsite before we discovered that those items were missing!). I'm going to blame the forgetfulness on jet lag, but looking back, it makes for a funny story!


Another time, we went backpacking in the Grayson Highlands in Virginia. While making plans, I checked the weather for Damascus (the closest town to where were headed), but I failed to account for the drop in temperature we would experience on top of Mt. Rogers. We spent the night in a trail hut and froze as the temperatures dipped. The next day we decided to hike back to our car because we were unprepared for the cold weather and rain that had rolled in over night. After that trip, Daniel joked that my planning privileges were revoked since I had provided bad information.


On a day hike to the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, we got a late start in the day (due to early morning weather). When we reached the top, we were exhausted, the sun was setting and we agreed that I needed to take a shuttle down since I was four months pregnant. It was a difficult decision to make, but we hadn't accounted for our late start and the shuttle went to the opposite side of the mountain from where our car was parked. There was no way around it. Daniel was prepared with extra food and water, his phone, credit card and license. I did not have any of those things. So we split the food, he kept the water and gave me his phone and credit card (since he would have access to mine when he reached our car). It was one of the longest evenings of my life, while I waited for him to hike down the mountain, retrieve the car, and drive around the mountain to get me and our dog. As luck (or lack on planning) would have it, the car was almost out of gas when he got there, cell reception was spotty, and it took longer for him to get to me than we planned. Also, I saw a bear while I waited for him!


Over the years, I have improved in the planning/preparedness department, and Daniel has probably relaxed a teeny bit. It still drives me a little batty that packing for any trip takes forever with Daniel. But truth be told, if we need something, he will most likely have it. This applies to off the trail as well. I am a minimalist and he is a boy scout (always be prepared). Somehow it works.

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