Thursday, October 19, 2017

What I Pack for a Colorado Backpacking Trip?

Back to Colorado! Per the Timehop app, it shows three years ago today I arrived in Granby at YMCA of the Rockies to start a seasonal job working in outdoor recreation (easily the best life decision I’ve made thus far)…and now I’m heading back to that exact same spot today where I’ll be staying for two nights before heading to the trailhead. Strong, bittersweet feels. I just wrapped up a solid conversation with two folks near my gate at the airport, traveling to Washington D.C.. Andrew, an artist with huge braids, big glasses and a thick French accent was scribbling away with a stylus on his iPad. I leaned over and saw he was gently sketching a portrait of his wife Amy, next to him who also happened to go to Loyola University Chicago! She studied social justice at my alma mater, is now a pastor. The three of us had all done a fair share of global travel and we swapped stories about trips to Iceland, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, India and Vietnam-the latter I begged them both to visit. I’ve preached it before, but a reason I love traveling solo is that you force yourself into conversations with complete strangers. Seriously one of my favorite things to do. I’m still waiting on a jet to dock at the gate and board my 7:15pm flight to Denver. My ears are ringing in agony from hearing blaring nonsense about Trump on the TV above, so I’ll throw on my headphones, watch the sunset across the runway and write. Plus, I always do my best writing when I’m on-the-go.

It’s comically almost-mandatory to take that cliché “packing” shot before embarking on a grand trip. You know, the one where all of your gear is laid out in neat, overly-OCD fashion before stuffing it hastily into your backpack or suitcase. Well that’s what you see here, the photo above. No shame though. The gear above is destined for three days in the backcountry in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and the neighboring Never Summer Wilderness in the Arapaho National Forest. Temperatures will range from low-teens up to 60 degrees depending on the elevation which will vary between 8,000ft up to close to 13,000ft. There will be snow, bluebird skies with sun and wind. So here’s the run-down of what’s all getting shipped out to the Denver International Airport in the belly of this sleek, orange and blue 737.
We’ve reached the cruising altitude somewhere over the dark Midwest, time to order some coffee and nestle up with my book for a few hours before we touch down in CO.


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