Over the Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I usually do a car camping trip, but this year we did a backpacking trip. Since we knew we wouldn’t be able to get far into the Wilderness at this time of the season, the idea was to hike a short distance out and, essentially, do a car camping like trip except that we’re backpacking in.

I’ve been keeping up with 4 runs a week for several weeks now, and I didn’t want to lose that streak for a backpacking trip. So I organized myself around that goal. I did my fourth run of the week on Friday instead of waiting for Saturday, since we were travelling on Saturday. And I decided to do trail runs while backpacking, which meant packing extra clothing and shoes and preparing, mentally, for a tough and limited run.

To get a good start on the week’s runs, I planned to run Sunday and Monday. Those were the only things that I really had scheduled for that weekend. I’ve been recording all my runs on the Map My Run app through my phone, but I did not want to bother with my phone out in the wilderness. I don’t have a very protective case, and if I break it I will need to buy a new one. So I left the phone in the car and made some guesses after the fact on my run distance (I did time both runs with my watch).

I know I could have brought my phone and recorded my runs that way if I really wanted to. I could probably have managed not to break it. But it was good for me to be unplugged. No games, no apps, no phone to pull my attention away from the awesome natural surroundings. I did bring my kindle this time. Even though it is electronic equipment, on a trip like this when I’d have a lot of time to read, it was much more efficient to bring the many books in my kindle than one or two paper books that I would have ripped through in a day or two.

Since the stay at home orders, I’ve been seeking refuge in structure. I needed to hold onto a schedule of my own in order to keep going. But it’s hard to keep that up. As the end of May approached, I needed a change. Backpacking has its own structures (for me anyway), but they’re different than the ones at home. Being outside and unplugged for a weekend was an important refresher for my brain. I’m looking forward to more backpacking this summer, even as the trips get more structured. But I’m rather dreading the fall, when we may be facing more waves of virus, more stay at home orders and I won’t be able to get outside – but I can still unplug and look for other ways to destress.

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