Cook kits, a podcast, a book & motivation

Doug and I have been doing some last-minute gear shifting in advance of our trip to the Olympics in a few weeks. My goal has been to lighten up where I could. This included, at last, buying a much lighter cook system by Toaks. I love the JetBoil and still plan to use it for camping, but where weight really matters for hikes over 5 days and such, lighter without going ultralight is definitely an asset.

One Esbit tablet gave me enough fuel to boil 500 ml of water plus bring another 500 ml of water to a simmer. So, You could definitely make a dinner and then some coffee or tea with one tablet. Another upgrade I am super impressed with is my food cozy from Packit Gourmet. I’ve written about them in the past and I am absolutely in love with Dottie’s Chicken and Dumplings meal they make. Seriously. I could eat that stuff at home and enjoy it.

I have another “training” hike coming up this weekend. I will be trying out Archer’s Fork Saturday and Sunday. Looking forward to trying out the Toaks on the go and doing some water filtering. Maybe having a campfire too if my knife comes in time. Well, that and, logically, also the miracle of not chopping off a finger in the process as I in no way have proper bushcraft skills. Still, as author Scott Carney says in his new book which I am reading, “What Doesn’t Kill Us.” The reason why his book caught my eye was for the elusive idea of personal challenge and building strength. I don’t think I will be jumping into icy water anytime soon, but I might do some hiking in the colder weather and feel OK about going it shirtless at times.

On a related note, I was listening to an interview with Cheryl Strayed this morning at work. “On hiking, getting outside, being kind, and writing like a ‘mofo.” The thing that spoke to me was that she said she signs up for half marathons. She says, “it’s the thing” that keeps her motivated. Not running specifically, but any goal. Just as I did during my brief running days after my heart attack. The part that resonated with me was that for the past two weeks, I have been dealing with variable levels of depression due to a complication in Nick’s health partly. But probably just my normal ebb and flow of personal motivation. Negative self-talk that tells me I am not doing enough. Not being outdoors enough. I am just not enough. And then there is one of my go to mantras that I use during panic attacks, stressful meetings, and yes, when pulling myself back out of a rut. “I am enough.”

I guess the reason behind all these #Outdoors posts of mine, the new treadmill, my weight equipment, the naked Yoga classes, meditation sessions and struggle with the Mediterranean diet is just that. It’s all part of this journey called life. So yeah, maybe it’s time to put my running shoes back on and enter some races this fall when I get back from a month of travel in September. Some new outdoor adventures which might include the Dolly Sods if I am lucky enough weather wise in October/November. But I think most importantly, remembering to be kinder to myself and others. Every day. I wonder what is going to go through my head as I hike through the Hoh Rainforest. Up the mountain ranges. Soak in the Hot Springs. This trip is going to be one of my highlights of 2018 for sure. But the whole entire set of events that are prepping me for it is just as, if not more so, because I’ve made new friends. Played outdoors with my buddies. Made campfires. Started a hiking program and a walking routine with Eddie. All in all, low points or not, I’ve got a lot to be grateful for this year.

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