walk into the wilderness, sleep on ground
I bought this backpack a while ago hoping to do some hike-in camping. My failure to actually do so for the past several years always went something like this...
Somewhere between packing up gear, driving to the trailhead and hiking to a campsite decide that it would be more enjoyable to either run and then sleep in my own bed or drive to a campsite with fire wood and toilets. This weekend started out in a similar state of indecision. I was halfway up icehouse canyon trail wearing my full camping pack still telling myself that I probably would just go home. The excuses are endless: better rest in your own bed, better food in your own kitchen, better fun in front of the tv. Clearly none of these reasons out-weigh spending a night in the wild. And unfortunately for my weak side I have ample amounts of practical tenacity for every possible inconvenience of camping. You forgot a flashlight - if you stop taking pictures with your phone it will provide enough light. I didn't bring enough food - you are a fatadapted ultra runner and will survive till morning. I only have 48ounces of water - drink, fill up at the spring on the way, conserve. I pride myself in trail efficiency and this was a good time to test my abilities. The biggest problem was that the sun was setting. I didn't reach Cucamonga peak until the last orange hues in the sky were slipping over the horizon. The only thing that kept me trekking up there despite my doubts about actually wanting to camp was that I have for so long had this specific trail camping experience in the back of my mind. If I didn't do it now, would it ever happen? I told myself that I could always get to the peak and turn around. I'd been down icehouse in the dark several times before. And things were looking good. The moon which was less then a half sliver was actually casting shadows. Enough so that I set up my tent without the use of any artificial light. Well none except the sea of lights from the inland empire that can be viewed from the peak. Stretching all the way from the coastline to the west, towards the desert in the east. Like shimmering water it fills every level expanse, it's sparkling tentecles jutting into canyons circumnavigating dark spaces where mountains sleep. I chilled quickly as the wind whipping 5000' up the escarpment ceaselessly stole any body heat I could produce despite wearing everything I had brought. I enjoyed it for a time then crawled in for the night. To make a very long and uncomfortable story short, especially if you've ever camped before, it was a long night. But come the dawn did and with the first light I was up packing my things. I finished just as the sun rose and oh a thousand words cannot describe this sunrise perched above the empire looking out with the wilderness waking up around me.
This was the exclusive experience I had bought. A five billion star, exclusive sunrise membership that trumps any 5 star first class establishment hands down. Despite a clear discovery that I'm not a fan of hiking with heavy packs, a completely unnatural state, it was worth every step.