By Maya Jammulapati
Under typical circumstances, a backpacking trip is a collaborative effort. During pre-trip planning meetings, members would typically pack up personal gear, and divvy up group gear. This leads to a team surviving and thriving in the backcountry feeding off of each other’s strength and mental toughness. In these trying times, however, the process is a little bit different. Everyone plans on a solo trip, with others a mere 6 feet away. If you need some help, all you can rely on are your goofy trip mates’ suggestions, however reliable they may be. The following are some scenarios with suggested individual coping methods:
- What might you do when you are freezing cold, in your personal tent, and cannot spoon (for warmth) with your favorite spooning buddy?
Try heating up some water on your personal backpacking stove, pouring it into your Nalgene and sticking it in your sleeping bag. It may not have a hand you can hold or a calming presence to sooth your misery, but it will keep you warm.
- What might you do when you are terribly tired and your pack is too heavy, but no one is willing to relieve your pain by touching your stuff?
In this common scenario, you may want to try taking your pack off and stretching your back for a moment. If pain persists soon after re-mounting your backpack, just start singing Taylor Swift songs at the top of your lungs. Why Taylor Swift you may ask? Taylor Swift is a very well-known artist. Others in your socially distant group will likely start singing along and you will forget about the pain altogether. Plus, you will irritate other groups of backpackers and they will maintain social distancing guidelines out of sheer annoyance.
- What might you do when you have depleted your food rations because you normally rely on scraping others’ plates?
In this case you would unravel a thread from your grungy clothing. You would proceed to tie this thread to a stick the length of your arm. On the other end of the thread you would attach something colorful that a fish may be interested in. Now you have a makeshift fishing pole. Place the pole in a nearby body of water. As you wait for a fish to bite (it likely will not) your body will process the amount of food you just ate and you will not be hungry anymore.
Whatever you do, DO NOT break the rules of social distancing. Ventilators are not known to be readily available in the backcountry.
About the Author:
Name: Maya Jammulapati
Year in School: Freshman
Major: Evolutionary and Ecological Biology & Dance
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Backpacking
Favorite Camp Food: Trail mix Pancakes
Ideal Outdoor Adventure Trip Destination: Desert in Southern Utah
If you were stranded on a desert island, what/who would you bring with you: A boat and sunscreen.