Monday, January 17, 2011

the wilderness. part i.

solo backpacking trip into the ventana wilderness.
28 hours, ~22 miles, ~4000' elevation gain, ~30lb pack
bookended by a 125 mile drive to/from arroyo seco.

i'm glad i went on this trip, even though i was riddled in fear many times. in fact, i feel like i'm still shaken up by how much fear i experienced, mostly all thoughts of "what if's" and crazy scenarios that i played out in my head while being alone in the back country. (thinking about 127 hours was not helpful.)

with that said, i made a list of things i would do differently next time:

1. bring a friend. (defeats the "solo" aspect of the trip...but i think it'd be worth it any day!)
2. carry a compass
3. don't bring a 1.5lb book! you'll ultimately want to burn the pages to make the load lighter.
4. figure out how to gauge mileage accurately.
5. refill on water sooner.
6. i don't like the hassle of eating/i don't like eating when i'm super tired. figure out yummier
& easier eats to pack in the calories that doesn't require much work.

7. when they say it's "less traveled" they mean it; don't expect or hope to see anyone.
8. get some trekking poles & sunglasses
9. should've brought my chacos. should've learned that there would be over a dozen river crossings!
10. 50mm is just okay; next time, bring a wide angle even if it's heavier. it'll be worth it.
11. learn what to do when you approach a snake.
12. don't forget the dorky ankle brace.
stay open to the journey, not just at arriving at the destination. (but if focusing on the destination helps get you through, freakin do what it takes!)

a few more:
14. figure out a tasty & easy protein source. (realized i relied almost solely on carbs. oops)
15. knowing the gist of the trip was okay, but i think it would've made for a better experience if i did more research ahead of time.

i think the only thing that would've dramatically changed the trip for me would've been #1, having a friend on the journey.


  1. wow liz! i'm so impressed--- congratulations. and o that fear! you're safe now and it's turned into awesome stories n lessons <3 i'd love to join you one day soon :)

  2. it's heartening to see that you did something that was also so fearful.

  3. Liz, I wanted to share a small story with you. I read the part i and part ii of this post on my old laptop earlier this year and always wanted to get back and read the next parts but never got a chance or time until today. But that was on my old laptop with all my bookmarks which I don't have anymore. I was trying to find your blog again but I couldn't to save my life remember your blog name. I just remembered LIZ(something). So I embarked on a google mission to find this post. I started with 'Ventana Wilderness'- number of results 424,000. I told myself not a bad start, next attempt was 'Ventana Wilderness LIZ'- number of results 122,000...that was really encouraging. I was then trying to remember a couple keywords that would possibly be unique to your post, so that I could further narrow down the result. I remembered your a carried a book which you wished you didn't carry. So next attempt 'Ventana Wilderness LIZ book'..the results down to mere 15,600. That was huge progress from last attempt. Thats when it occurred to me that you said sty like "thinking of the movie 127 was not helping anything". So next search attempt was 'Ventana Wilderness LIZ book 127'....a quick glance at the number of results was a little discouraging, the number results went up from 15,600 to 146,000, but as I moved my focus to a couple of results below...BAM !! there it was the very second result was your blog post. It was a success. Although, you regretted carrying the 1.5lb book and thinking about 127, it made me grin that those things actually helped me find your blog after 8-9 months. I am glad you carried your 1.5lb book and thought about the movie 127 and mostly glad that you made this adventure and cared to share it on the internet. It was an absolute delight reading the post and was very inspiring.
    Love and Respect

  4. @sid - what a delightful story! it was actually quite dramatic and sat on the edge of my seat (kinda). ;) i'm so glad you shared your story and grateful that my adventure could speak inspiration to you. i hope you have one to share soon! peace - liz


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