Today’s Costume: Backpacker

…or Getting Right Back on That Horse

Backpacker Barbie

After my Cape Chignecto hiking debacle I was feeling a little less than competent. I asked myself “What was the real cause of my failure? Was it lack of aerobic training or muscle strength, the heat of the day, or, heaven forbid, a cardiac issue?” There was only one way to find out. No, not get a physical like Sensible Sally would do. I had to do it the Parsons way: get right back on that horse. So I called up the Keji office and booked myself a backwoods site that required a good long walk in with my camping gear on my back. This would challenge my endurance without the complication of the steep hills. Campsite 17 looked like a good challenge; a 5 km trek from the Big Dam parking lot should be a good distance to ease back into things. I paid my money, I took my chances.

I donned my trusty new backpack and, to the accompaniment of the sloshing of my water bottle and the slight swish of my backpack, I headed down the trail.  It was, I discovered, one of the lesser traveled trails with the fern growing right over it in places. The little angel on my right shoulder had said “Is this sensible? If you do have a cardiac problem no one is going to get in here with the paddles before the coyotes get you. If your legs give out from fatigue you will have to lie down in that bog. What if you get so tired you have to travel in dark or dim light? You might lose your way.” The little devil on my left shoulder said “Come on, you know there’s nothing wrong with you. If you bail now you’ll probably never go again and you spent a small fortune on gear” and “Yooou’re a hypooo-condriaaac” in a singsong voice. The angel rebutted “It could be days before you see another human on this trail” (not likely true in a busy summer season but sometimes exaggeration is necessary to make a point) The angel won, and About 1.5 km in I turned and doubled back out the trail. I didn’t abandon the hike however. Instead I picked up a loop on a much more populated trail. So I got the full benefit of hiking 11km with my gear but no backwoods camping. I had already paid for a site so I picked up one in the general campground. After I made camp I then did another 2km to the ice cream stand and back. I felt I needed to reward my efforts. I felt entirely vindicated and decided it was the heat and lack of training which led to my previous failure. That, and rickety knees.

Here’s a few pics of the flora and fauna I saw that day. I will review my hiking/camping gear in an upcoming blog post.

The chlorophyll free, parasitic monotropa uniflora. Also known as Indian pipe.


Cornus canadesis, or bunchberries. We called them crackerberries in Nfld.


Coffee Cuppicus Timotheos. Hey, what ignorant barbarian left that out here? And where did they even buy it??


The Great Canadian Beaver.



As usual, once tired I began seeing faces in everything. Or is this just a gnome home?

And so I survived to tell this tale. I went on to do a longer over-nighter a couple of weeks later. I am so far behind on blog posts it will take me a while to get to it. It was a grand summer with lots of adventures to report.

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© Judy Parsons 2017

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