Backpacking: Stumped for Entertain-ment

We usually pack light for any long backpacking adventure, but bringing along a book or a pack of cards is worth the small additional weight, even if it turns out there is no table to play on at the top.

For whatever one photo is worth:

In 2018 we did a multi-day backpacking trip up over the pass at Skoki Mountain near Lake Louise, Alberta. Three of us, two adults and a pre-teen, lugged our full kit up about eighteen kilometers of service road, trail accent, lakeside hike, summit climb, and winding approach.

The bugs were brutal and aggressive, as was the murky smoke from a far off forest fire. So, when we were not working through the never-ending routine of chores to cook, clean and keep camp, we spent the better part of our time wrapped up in mosquito hoods or hiding in our tents.

Luckily we brought along some cards.

Backpacking is all about weight. Every gram is yet another gram one needs to squish into the bag and lug with every step up a steep, dangerous climb. Too little weight means you may be unprepared. Too much and you could end up injured atop a mountain.

There is necessary weight for things that you will likely suffer or need to bail without, such as food, cooking gear, clean water tools, your tent, sleeping equipment, first aid, and at least one pair of dry socks.

There is also important weight accounting for the really nice to have gear that will provide comfort and success, like full changes of clothes, toilet paper, tooth brushes and soap, groundsheets, clotheslines, a phone (or other GPS & communications device) and a little bit of bug spray.

Then there is the luxury weight itemizing the stuff (sparingly) brought along because there is more to life than mere survival. My list often includes cameras, a paperback book, a (very lightweight) folding chair (which I will write about soon!) and of course a pack of cards.

So between cooking and cleaning and hiking and sleeping we hid from the bugs, read our books, and played some card games … even though we neglected to bring a table and were left balancing it all on a small stump.