Recently, I flew for the first time in nearly 16 months. As someone who is fortunate enough to usually to travel a couple of times a year, including by air, I’ve really missed the excitement of packing my bag and getting away.
As is my habit, I prepared for my trip by writing (on paper!) a list of items to bring along on my vacation. There were the usual things, of course, like pretty sundresses, a couple of swimsuits, sandals and toiletries. I packed running clothes also, eager to get my feet back on the desert trails I’ve fallen in love with over the years in the desert.
This trip, though, came with the promise of spending some time taking part in a new-to-me activity: hiking. The friend I traveled with had promised that we were going to “hike our asses off,” whatever that means. Not knowing what hikers might wear when out on the trail, I decided that my new running shoes, which are super lightweight trail running shoes, would work for footwear and my running skorts/tanks would suffice as appropriate attire. Easy, right?
As vacation week got closer and the weather forecast for our destination became more reliable, I realized I needed to add a couple of additional things to my carry on luggage. In the past decade or so of my life, I’ve learned that hats have some real value when traveling, especially when one is planning to spend as much time as possible outdoors. I tossed a floppy, cotton number I had found discarded on the bedroom floor of one of my sons into my bag. That would work.
It may have the very night prior to departure that I thought about another item that just might come in handy when one is “hiking their ass off” – a water vessel for the trail, preferably something I wouldn’t need a hand to manipulate. I had to keep my hands available for my camera and climbing ladders. I dug something out that I never before imagined packing for vacation – the Camelbak I’ve used in the past for trail races like Seven Sisters and the Solstice Run.
Neither of these items took up much room in my sanctioned carry on, but I have to say they were more valuable to me than any of the pricy, rented garments in which they shared space. I would have been absolutely screwed without them.
The hat shaded my face and neck saving me from what at times felt like a solar assault on my head. Yes, the heat is dry but the sun was fierce. I would have been miserable for sure without that green chapeaux protecting me. It was the perfect hat for hiking – at least in my incredibly limited experience, and I appreciated it so much that I’ve declared 2021 the year of that particular hat. It will be my signature accessory this year. Promise.
The Camelbak performed its job wonderfully. Filled with 1.5 L of water and ice it remained reasonably cold for a couple of hours and rejuvenated me on the dusty trails we explored. While I reliably sucked it dry each time I used it, even after pregaming with an additional liter of water before hitting the trail, it was an adequate amount of liquid to keep me going.
Side note re: going – you know it’s hot when your body absorbs 2.5 liters of water with nary a tinkle of urine released. I’m the Queen of Pee-ers and when I was out on the trail I held onto every damn drop of liquid I ingested. It was remarkable!
Hiking in the desert ignited a new interest for me. The challenge of climbing and descending hills and the wide open vistas literally took my breath away. I loved just about every moment I spent hiking and hope to do more locally soon.* That green bucket hat and my Camelbak are coming along wherever I may get to travel to this year, be it the Catskills, Adirondacks or further afield.
Spain and Greece are both pretty hot in July. Fortunately, it seems I have everything I might need already – including plane tickets.
*Please share favorite trails! My ideal is not crazy crowded, pretty and hilly.