I finally got to check the Grand Canyon off my bucket list! Dave and I stayed in Flagstaff for two nights, exploring that area and checking out the Grand Canyon. While we hiked the 1.5 mile trail down and back up, we were sad that we couldn't explore more. The conversation quickly morphed from, "I wish we had more time here" to, "we're going to take up backpacking". Dave has been backpacking before and loved it. I have camped at pretty "on-the-grid" locations in tents throughout my childhood and enjoyed it. The idea of backpacking was so exciting! Take everything on my back that I'll need, live off the land, etc. I couldn't wait.
We got back and almost instantly made a trip to an outdoor store. After more time and money spent there than I'd care to acknowledge, we were off with a car full of gear... ready to take on the desert. I found an area with dispersed camping, educated myself on what that entails, and decided that'd be a good fit for our first camping excursion. Dispersed camping is essentially an off-grid location with pull-offs to set up your tent next to your vehicle, there are zero amenities. I thought this would be great to get our feet wet and provide a good trial run (with a car full of extra things at our disposal) before we returned to the daunting Grand Canyon. Thankfully, we didn't dive right in because I quickly learned that full-blown backpacking is not for me. I may think I'm a badass but I'm not THAT much of a badass. I want far more things at my disposal than I can reasonably carry on my back.
My first clue was when we were planning out what we were going to bring for food and Dave said, "we just need a pound of oatmeal, a pound of rice and some nuts or something like trail mix"... I had not thought about this. I'm a boujee eater. I need more flavor than that. We weren't even on the road yet and I was having second thoughts. I convinced Dave that we could bring a cooler because we'll have the car and then re-assess on our next trip, but I was already doubting if this was truly for me. The next and final straw came after we set up camp and began hiking with our packs on a trial run. My pack was loaded, Jamo's pack was loaded, and we were off. The dog packs are significantly wider than the dog's body so as we walked down the trail, the canvas material would brush across the shrubs/branches and make a noise that sounds very similar to what a hissing snake sounds like. We were heading down a hill, on extremely rocky terrain, and I thought I heard a snake. I pulled back on Jamo, terrified he was going to get bit, my foot slipped, and I fell flat on my back. Lucky for the pack that I was cursing for being too bulky the entire time, or I would have probably given myself a brain bleed. I smoked my elbow on a rock on the way down but fortunately, that was the only real problem we encountered.
Waking up and peeking out the tent door to a view of the mountains, canyons, and rock formations is something that just can't be beat. The gallery below does these views no justice. Sitting around the fire watching Dave chop wood while the sun sets over the vast open plains on the other side of our tent sold me. I may not be tough enough to backpack, but this Boondocking thing is right up my alley. I can't wait to go again!