All’s Fair in Love, War and Backpacking

IMG_8279Well, trail heads, Happy Valentine’s Day (also celebrated in some cultures as “Singles’ Awareness Day” or “That Useless Made-Up Holiday That Only Benefits the Greeting Card Companies”).

Earlier in the week, I was toying with what to write for this week’s posting. When I realized that I was scheduled to put up my next blurb on the 14th, I thought, hey, why not a Valentine’s Day posting?

It’s a strange holiday, I know – after all, nothing says celebrating the rather gruesome martyrdom of a third-century saint by going overboard with chocolate, roses and public displays of affection.

But Valentine’s Day for outdoor people? I mean, if you and/or your partner are hiking people, what would make a good Valentine’s Day present or date night?

First, the presents.

Diamonds are expensive and overrated. Some of the perfumes/colognes they sell at the mall are so intense they could be used for chemical warfare. Chocolate? Well, it’s all right for keeping the energy levels up on long hikes – and you do need chocolate for s’mores, after all. (But over-consumption of chocolate is the reason some of us have to go hiking in the first place.) Flowers? Mmm, they’re nice, but eventually they wither and you have to toss them into the compost heap.

Maybe a new compass. Or a guidebook to some trails you haven’t visited before. There’s probably more than one hiker who wouldn’t say no to a new Swiss Army knife.

Now for the date night/day. There’s a blog out there called Trail Recipes (check it out here, it’s pretty cool). One of their most recent posts was about how to have a romantic dinner while you’re on a backpacking trip. It actually looked halfway doable – a lot of the recipes involved pre-mixing the ingredients and packing them into zip top bags, to be decanted and cooked over the campfire.

Now, granted, considering what the weather’s been like around here lately, if you were to attempt a backpacking trip on Valentine’s Day itself, you’d need a tent and sleeping bags that are graded for, at the very least, a trip up Everest. And any cuddling would not be for romantic purposes so much as to ward off hypothermia.

(I keep telling my family and co-workers that it’ll probably be April or May before we see grass again. If you’re in Boston, it’s now looking like it’ll be July.)

My advice, save the backpacking trip for two for when the weather gets a little more temperate – or at least, a little less arctic. Use the 14th itself to try out some camping recipes and sit around planning your next hike for two.

Because, a walk or a bike trek – whether it’s a short out-and-back hike or something longer – to a nice vista or just out in the woods? That’d be a pretty good date idea. Bonus points if you hike somewhere where it gets dark enough to see the stars in the evenings.

What it boils down to is, do whatever floats your boat.

Again, Happy Valentine’s Day, and here’s hoping we all find a partner to walk along with us, boots on and backpack in tow, on the switchbacks of life’s trails.

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Categories: Camping, Food and drinks, Hiking, Other, Walking | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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