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So tomorrow we’re off—headed south to pick up the permit for the hike, kick around places the tour bus stops (you know the kind I’ll be on in a few years, showing off pictures of my grandchildren), and then we’ll meet up with our children for supper.

My physical therapist asked me today, “Are you ready?”
“A bit scared.”

“About your knees or the water?”

“I haven’t decided.”

I also met my friend in Walmart where I stopped for some last minute items. She was the one who gave me a few swimming lessons. She assured me that floating on my back was acceptable. “Whatever it takes to get through,” she said. I pretended to feel reassured, but I know she was laughing to herself.

So today I’m packing.

Last week my “knee doctor” told me about a time he hiked up Timp (Mt.Timpanogos) with a group. Two of his sisters were having a tough time. One was struggling within the first hour. He offered to carry her back pack for her and put it on his chest like a baby sling because his own pack was on his back. “I like to carry extra things in case anyone needs them.” After awhile the other sister was ready to give up. “So I suggested we only take essentials, put them in my back pack, and stash the other two packs to pick up on the way down.”

They agreed and opened the packs to look through. In the first one he found a heavy-duty, large scale mag light (for flagging down small aircraft?), and a whole roll of T.P. (No comment.) In the second pack was a large, metal thermos filled with hot chocolate (for sharing on the summit). Needless to say, none of those went into his pack. (Not the whole roll at least.)

So I’ve been deciding what I do need and do not need. One list suggests 10 essentials hikers should carry. But most of it is common sense, and some is just situational. I will not be taking an ice pick or blanket.

For this all day hike, I will take

  • Snacks—lots. Last time we did this hike we had tortilla roll-ups filled with lunch meat, greens etc. Because much of our time is spent in water, they got a bit wet on one end. This time we’re just doing protein type bars, nuts, dried fruit, apples and cherries. Garden peas would be delicious.
  • Energy chews and a small energy drink for the final climb out.
  • All the water my water pack will hold. Plus an extra bottle.
  • In a small water proof pouch: T.P., bandaids, all-purpose tool, car keys.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Possibly a water purifier. Then if we are delayed and run out of drinking water, we can make more. A person can survive a couple of weeks without food, but we need water—especially in the desert.
  • Two other things that are good for hikes, but that we won’t be taking: a compass and a topographical map. My sister is coming as our guide. It’s her 4th time through the Subway and once you find the descent, the rest is easy—follow the river. There are two iffy spots after that: when the river forks, go right, and after the dinosaur tracks (on the canyon wall to the right of the river) watch for the exit out. There is a tiny sign.
  • My son and daughter-in-law are taking a water-proof camera and have promised to share.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m taking a hat (though my DH is), a light weight jacket, or (depending on the weather), a wet suit.

The guys will add the strapping and hardware for the rappels to their packs.

They are also commissioned with getting me through the swimming places.

I will wear Tevas, yoga pants and a t-shirt. Socks part of the way to help prevent blisters. And my knee brace.

What I am not taking:

  • a flashlight. If for some reason we get stranded and are there after dark, we’ll just have to make do with the moon or snuggle up until daylight.
  • A whole roll of T.P. Every one can be responsible for themselves. Though I will include a small baggie to carry-out any T.P. I use.
  • Any thing else.

That’s right, no thermos, no ice pick, no rope, and no luggable loo. The best way to finish a long hike, is to not feel worn out before it begins.

My philosophy: Take what is necessary, but leave the kitchen sink home.


P.S. Something I learned from my sister, is, in the back of our car, to have a cooler full of drinks for the end of the hike. And some wet wipes.