This past weekend Ryan and I packed our camping gear into our two Deuter backpacks, laced up our hiking boots, wrangled the puggle, and headed out for a one-night backpacking trip. Our previous car camping trip over Memorial Day weekend had been a washout due to cold temperatures and rain, but this weekend was hot and sunny – the perfect weather for escaping into the mountains.
Since this is Seattle and temperatures over 80 degrees send people into a panicked frenzy (it does the same thing to me), we weren’t the only ones who decided to camp in the mountains to escape the heat. We arrived at the top of the trail at 1 PM and claimed one of the last campsites.
As I mentioned on Monday, backpacking proved to be a physical challenge for me. My endurance is fairly intact after my time off from running and hiking due to my sprained foot, but it was bearing the weight of my ~20 pound pack over those 5 miles and 1000 feet elevation gain that was hard for me. Granted, my pack was poorly adjusted (fixing that made a world of difference on the second day, but then again going downhill is always easier), but regardless, backpacking is physically and mentally hard.
Hard, but rewarding – just like long distance running. Once we arrived at Goat Lake, one of our favorite hikes in the Cascades, I forgot about how heavy my pack was and just how hard the hike up was and enjoyed the time outside.
We ate our lunch of whole wheat peanut butter sandwiches by the lake before setting up our campsite. Charlie loves our tent – he happily hangs out in it even when being outside is an option. Honestly, our campsite was a comfortable set-up: we had sleeping pads and soft sleeping bags in our tent, foam mats for sitting outside, and our little JetBoil camp stove for cooking and making coffee and tea. Nothing fancy, but fancy isn’t the point of backpacking and camping.
What mattered most: we were able to disconnect from work and just be present, enjoy nature, and relax with each other. Blogging, coaching, and running all are great things, but family always comes first.
I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle to unplug and completely disconnect. I’m constantly checking emails, working on training plans for my athletes, catching up on social media, or blogging. My entire job is virtual, after all, since all the coaching I do is done over the mediums of email, Google Sheets, and phone. Ryan works hard on his line of outdoor recreation gear when he’s not at his engineering job, which requires a lot of time online especially since he sells through Amazon.
One of our favorite parts about camping the past couple weeks is that it literally forces us to disconnect. There’s no cell service or wifi in the mountains.
I noticed that I habitually reached for my phone and would open my email without thinking, even if I had only grabbed my phone to check the time. Unplugging is more challenging than any run, hike, or other sport because of how technology alters our habits. Habits are powerful: they’re what get us out the door to run even when we lack motivation, they’re what structure our daily routines, and they’re how we practice healthy vs. unhealthy lifestyles.
Of course, I didn’t want to check my email, and once I caught myself subconsciously trying to, I tossed my phone into the tent and only carried it around for photos.
Instead of being glued to our phones and laptops while watching reruns on Netflix, Ryan, Charlie, and I explored around the lake, lounged under the shade of trees in our campsite, cooked and enjoyed our meals, and read. Minus a brief panic on my part about bears (I asked Ryan probably ten times if bears were going to eat us in our sleep), we enjoyed a completely relaxing and rejuvenating 24 hours in the wilderness – no screens involved, just trees.
Linking up with Thinking Out Loud!
How often do you unplug and completely disconnect from technology?
How do you deal with a heat wave?
Be honest: are you a workaholic? Do you have a time where you shut down everything and stop working?