Of all the object in a Wilderness Ranger tool kit, the backpack is by far the most important. Traveling and working in the backcountry would not be feasible without a sturdy pack to stuff all the items necessary for surviving unsupported in the Wilderness. On a typical hitch my pack contents include my tent, sleeping bag, bear can with food for 8 days, Steripen and iodine tablets for water purification, first aid kit, ½ lb of paperwork, journal, book for down time reading, fishing rod, all necessary (and sometimes unnecessary) clothing items, work gloves, hard hat, water bottles, and an assortment of trail tools.
This season my 85 liter Xena by Osprey has been my constant companion and burden. Walking down the trail I composed the following ode to my pack.
Ode to Xena
Oh Xena, my backpack, my friend and my foe
You fill me with gladness, amazement and woe
As down the trail I plod unrequited
Your molded hip straps have me quite excited
What padding! What comfort! I think with delight
Without such support I would be in a plight
For I work on trails and therefore I need
A pack large enough to hold tools, tent and feed!
Yet a ways down the trail, 5 or 10 miles or more
Despite your good structure I begin to feel sore
A little ways further and I start to protest
For the shoulder aches, and hip bruises are really grotesque!
But then just before I reach my wits end
I find my campsite and my spirits do mend
How cool that all I need can fit into this pack
I think as I pull you right off of my back
For now that I’ve made it, I’m done hiking, I’m here
My belongings you carried do fill me with cheer
The path is never ending and this just the start
Happy trails and sunny days lie ahead if we’re smart
So onward and upward there are things still to see
Together we’ll do it, me with you and you with me.