Gratitude – Day 94 (The Right Stuff)

There are these astronauts and… wait a minute, that is the wrong right stuff.

OK, I have discovered another underlying truth in the universe. The older a person gets, the more they will appreciate and require decent gear for enjoying the outdoors. Well, it is a truth for me, and extrapolating that to the universe is not that big of leap, right?

These last 6 years or more have seen Kathy & I get much more active outside. I remember seeing people wearing all sorts of high-end outdoor wear and gear and recall thinking that this was a by-product of companies marketing to trendy outdoor yuppies. I used to think the gear was more for show than any real benefit. I was wrong. It has not been until recent years that I have engaged in the caliber of outdoor activity where decent gear is required. Times change, I change, and so have my perspectives. I guess this realization started when I cycled the Golden Triangle. Before that, I have never cycled 110kms in a day, let alone in the mountains. I have to consider tire tread to reduce friction, hydration, energy management, managing body temperature through light and efficient clothing layers, form fitting clothing to prevent chaffing, traffic visibility, and more. I bought a number of items, and still remained a bit skeptical, until I used them. Little things can make a big difference. Since that time, I have slowly become a big fan of proper gear and clothing. Gone are the days when I go hiking with denim or cotton. There are more efficient clothes that work well to retain or dissipate heat, will dry quickly if you get wet, and offer protection from the sun and wind.

I have certainly become best friends with my hiking boots. I got properly fitted a couple of years ago at MEC and they have been a wonderful addition to my gear. Additionally, I was properly fitted for a backpack and that has seen some use. I think in addition to buying good gear, it should be the “right” gear for your activity. There are so many people that are trained in this, that it would have been foolish for me to ignore their expertise. From those early days, I have really rounded out my gear list. I have a decent rain jacket, a backup rain jacket, goretex pants, hiking socks, river pants, cargo pants, PFD, bent shaft canoe paddle, bear banger, bear spray, dry bags for canoeing, streamlined cookware, a good sleeping pad, decent sleeping bag, and the list goes on. Every year, for the last number of years, Kathy and I pick up a few more items. We are gradually building our gear manifest over time. More economical and we understand our needs more over time. We have some canoe trips coming up and I feel like we are prepared for the trips and have what we need to be safe & comfortable.

Here’s to gear! It has enabled me to get outdoors more and enjoy it when I do.

I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life; living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartanlike as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness out of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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