The Distraction of Accessories


Lilly agrees, there are a lot of clips and zippers!

For our hike last weekend I used, for the first time, the beautiful and highly functional Osprey backpack I received as a Christmas gift from my brother-in-law.  It is purple and grey, and it is a serious back pack.  And, yes, you read that right, I have not used it since I received it on the morning of December 25.

So there I was on June 21 getting my things together to go on the hike.  I put aside my backpack from Target and began to fill the Osprey. First thing? I cut off the tags.

A sandwich, an apple, sunscreen (remember when we used to call it sun tan lotion?), sunglasses, a rain jacket (this is Colorado after all…the weather can change within the hour), a light pullover, dog treats, leashes, my wallet and phone.   I gathered up the doodles and we were off!  Or so I thought…

As I drove out of our alley and turned onto the road, I looked back and realized that Lilly was not wearing a collar.   Kind of an essential item.   Back we went to the house to get her collar.  While I ran through the house I grabbed my camera that was dutifully sitting on the dining room table where I had left it.

We began our drive again.   I thought about the pack … dear HEAVENS!  I slapped my forehead.  WATER!!  I had forgotten the most essential item.  So I pulled in to that most excellent of supply stores: Dunkin’ Donuts (hey, my summer resolution has to do with hiking and writing, not careful eating.)  A donut, a cup of coffee and three bottles of water later, we were finally heading west.

As we got out of the car at the trailhead, I leashed up the doodles and  finished zipping up the backpack and threw it onto my back.  The new pack is lightweight, well constructed and fabulous.   It is  covered with pockets, adjustable straps, clips, a place for a water bladder (I realized that a little too late..) and two great outside pockets –just the right size for water bottles from DD.

Yes, I know I pack for a day hike with a bit too many extras.  I like having things with me “just in case.”  The juxtaposition of the woman coming down the trail when we were just starting was not lost on me.  She was in shorts, t-shirt, her dog on a leash and she was chatting on the phone.  We looked a bit different from her.

As the doodles and I walked along, I began to do my best contortionist exercises to get to the bottles of water.  And every time I did I found a new clip or a new zipper.  With great interest, I began to adjust  the strap in the front that goes across my upper chest.  As I tugged and yanked,  my thoughts went something like this: “oh too tight, oh that’s loose, oh too loose, now that’s tighter, it feels lopsided, hmm, that’s still not right, almost ….”


Lilly and the Pack are ready for round 2!

I swear at one point Lilly turned around and gave me a look that asked, “Are you going to fidget the whole time?”  Of course, when I found the secret zippered pocket on the straps that go around my waist, that was another ten minutes.  Yep these were my thoughts at that point: “zip open, it’s a good size, keys, phone, that’s good to know.  Zip closed, zip open, shift the pack..hmmm”  Yep, another look from Lilly.

I’m not sure I should admit to these distracted thoughts.  I am not sure what they mean.  I like to think of myself as thoughtful and able to contemplate on a deep level.  I stay current with the news, I read the newspaper, I listen to NPR!!  But when I hike it is amazing that I can have these inconsequential, truly empty and ridiculous thoughts.  And it’s fabulous.

Since it is just the doodles and me, there is no pressure.  I realized too late on this hike that I had forgotten the doodles’ water bowl that is clipped to my Target backpack.  And I neglected to purchase bottles of water that would squirt into their mouths.   So I had to pour … and I think I poured about a half a bottle of water on the trail while trying to make it into their mouths.  And because of the angle,  each time after taking a drink, they would cough and wretch as the water went up his or her nose or down the wrong pipe.   We were quite the scene.

But in spite of all of this wackiness, we had a wonderful time.  A truly wonderful time.   And, our next hike, I will be even better equipped.  In fact, I have made a list!  And I have located my water bladder to slide into the back of my gorgeous pack.  And I have adjusted all the straps.  No more need to fidget while we hike.

Oh I don’t know…I admit those clips and zips are sort of fun and distracting. 

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