Last weekend, I took someone backpacking. It wasn’t their first trip, but the actual first one was not the best experience, and put them off of backpacking a bit. This wasn’t the first time that I’d gone backpacking with someone other than my husband, but it was the first time that I was taking someone out for a good “first” experience. 

I took them to the same place that Ambrose took me for my first backpacking trip, Skillern Hot Springs outside of Fairfield, ID. It has a lot of advantages for a first trip. The hike out is short, but includes some challenges, like stream crossings and climbs. The trail is open to motorcycles, so it is very well maintained, especially between the parking lot and the hot springs. Oh yes, did I mention the hot springs? 

The trip was great. I’ve definitely changed that person’s idea of what a backpacking trip can be. I learned that I can lead a trip without Ambrose to back me up or advise me. And I got to enjoy a hot spring that holds a special place in my own backpacking history. 

I was nervous about going on this trip way back when I first suggested doing it back in May or April. I’m fine backpacking with Ambrose, and I adjusted to hiking with other backpackers and even their dogs. I don’t have any issues backpacking by myself. But taking someone else, someone who had only backpacked once before and had a negative experience… That was a bit of pressure. 

On the one hand, I felt confident that this trip was the right “first” trip for this person. On the other hand, maybe the exigencies of the first trip weren’t the only reason it wasn’t a good experience. Backpacking isn’t for everyone, after all. 

As luck would have it, I’ve been extremely busy at work. I’m not only lacking in boredom, I’m actively busy for the majority of the day due to a software implementation. And that means that I had absolutely no spare energy left for worrying about the trip. I didn’t worry about whether I could actually lead a newbie out on a trip and make it a good one. I didn’t worry about anything. 

When the time came to actually go on the trip, I just experienced it. I didn’t compare it to a worried expectation. I was myself, and I experienced. 

While I’m not sure I could take someone out for a first trip if I didn’t consider them a friend, I know now that I can take a friend out. And I know just how rewarding it can be to introduce someone to backpacking in a positive way. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *