For years, you see, I’ve been spending every week of vacation in the backcountry. Suffer fests is what a friend of mine calls these trips. During such suffer fests, reader, we usually burden ourselves with fifty or sixty pounds of ridiculousness: nylon in a variety of shapes for a variety of purposes; lots of shiny pieces of metal, which we tell people are to protect us when climbing cliffs, but are really just to look cool; and a sad array of food that should really be refrigerated, like several sticks of margarine dumped into a water bottle.
It is often cold or uncomfortably hot. Maybe it’s raining, or snowing, or hailing. You probably smell, and you’re likely missing small patches of skin from scrapes with nature. You haven’t slept well, dinner is a mixture of instant rice and peanut butter, and a pack of thoughtless marmots has chewed up half your gear. You yearn for the car, but it’s miles away — miles usually complicated by a dearth of trails and at least one river without a bridge.
Enough suffering, reader! It’s time for a different kind of adventure. The civilized kind of adventure. So I’ve spent my summer working extra hard to finance a month-long relaxation fest. Yes, these summer days were long, but they were spent in the service of librarianship. Yes, there will be fewer weeks in the backcountry this year, but the weekend adventures will be more meaningful. And to what end, dear reader? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens come April.
In the meantime, reader, you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve invested in some equipment to guarantee a more interesting winter. Stay tuned for stories of cold-weather misery.