Partners on the Trail

posted Jul 8, 2011, 8:52 AM by Paul Wagner   [ updated Jul 8, 2011, 9:25 AM ]
Once we started backpacking together, a few things became pretty clear.  M tends to look down on the trail, exploring flowers, rocks, funghi and animal scat with great interest.  (That's M looking down at left...with good reason!~as she walks across a log across a roaring spring creek.) 
P tends to look up on the trail, trying to catch sight of peaks, passes, and possible a trout stream or lake.
Which makes us a pretty good combination on the trail.  Between the two of us, we don't miss much!
We work as a team in the campsite, as well.  P generally sets up the tent, while M manages more of the kitchen.  And in the morning, we work together to get everything packed up and on the trail.  Some days P pumps the water because he is done first, sometimes that falls to M if she gets her pack loaded up before him.
And speaking of loading up the pack, we do try to share the load.  P is bigger, and stronger, so he carries more weight.  On a recent four-day trip to the john Muir Wilderness, P carried about 30 pounds total, and M was carrying about 20--those weights include some water for the trail in each pack.  We think that's about fair, because P weighs a lot more than M...and we are each carrying roughly the same weight in terms of a percentage of our body weight: between 15 and 18%.We stopped for lunch on an island of granite in the middle of the meadow
We each carry our own clothes, sleeping bag, and pads.  The big difference is that P carries the tent and food, while M carries the cook pot and kitchen.
Our packs are resting in the granite in the middle of Laurel Creek Meadows at about 9700 feet in the photo at right.  Can you tell which pack is which? (Hint:  P's Crocs are larger!)
Of course, as the trip goes on, we eat a lot of the food, so P's pack get lighter. That's when he starts putting other things into the bear canister, like the gas for the stove, or some other part of our kitchen.  And he has been known to carry more of the water, as well. 
That way we each feel the benefits of the lighter load on the last couple of days of the trip.
It's not a perfect system, but it works for us.  And we'd love to hear about yours, too!
 After a short hike, we reached the official boundary for another self portrait