My name is Joslyn and I hike with my husband Richard (we are still looking for our trail names 🙂 ). We live in North Georgia and love getting outside. We have two dogs, Dakota and Jäger, but they don’t get to come with us as much as we’d like on our outdoor adventures. Dakota is my 13 year old dog I have had since I was a little girl and Jäger is our 3 year old Miniature Dachshund which is why neither of them come with us very often.
Richard grew up here, but me, I am west coast born and raised. In my life I have done a lot of back country camping and off road adventures. My family has been actively Civil War Reenacting once a month for 10 years now and it is a whole ‘nother world from the big city I spent every other day of the year. It’s a world where dinner came out of a dutch oven; sleeping with nothing more than a canvas tent, two wool blankets, and a bed of straw was normal; and a Port-a-john was a luxury. It never occurred to me to complain though or want to stay home, I was having way too much fun! I was seeing some amazing places and spending time with some of the most unforgettable people I have ever met. So when Richard and I moved to Georgia in 2009 and I found out that a majority of the population I was now living with thought camping was getting in the RV, heading to the local state park, and taking the kids down to the pool; I couldn’t do it.
Now don’t get me wrong, the people I lived with in my big city probably thought the same thing, but it just wasn’t the attitude I was accustomed to at all. So I went searching for something that felt familiar. I’m sure you can guess what I found. That Christmas, Richard got a seasonal job at REI, a store that was completely new to me since the things we bought for my last hobby usually came from a store operating out of a caravan canvas tent. I stepped inside and discovered a whole new world not so different from my own. I was as giddy as the proverbial kid in a candy store; every piece of gear was a new adventure and another thing I just had to try. Now I don’t have to tell most of you there is really nothing so special about REI and I have walked into it and many other backpacking stores since then without so much as a twinkle, but as I’m sure you are also probably aware, it had very little to do with the store itself. It was the magic of coming face to face with the hobby of my dreams. That thing I could throw myself into, daydream about at work and strive to do as much as possible. I was hooked from the moment I saw that first pack hanging on the wall.
Thus began my love affair with backpacking. It was realized in the skip of a heartbeat and wholeheartedly embraced in seconds. The idea of ultralight backpacking came much slower. I was nervous and a bit skeptical at first; many are. But the more I learned, the more I just knew; I never wanted to set foot on a trail loaded down with a traditional pack. I didn’t want to see the world with heavy, begrudging feet, and I couldn’t stand the thought of looking at my pack with disgust not wanting to put it on, or deciding not to check out what was on top of an unplanned mountain because I’d have to lug my gear up it.
2008 hit us hard and we are in no way rich. In fact most people would classify us as poor. Every dollar counts and we don’t have any just laying around. Still we are refusing defeat and are fighting for our right to enjoy our free time in the manner we choose. It’s not been easy. We have been squirreling away gear and pestering family to give us nothing but backpacking equipment. I have been yelled at more than once “Joslyn could we just not talk about backpacking again!?”. Now, a year and a half after our dream was born, we are preparing to take our first steps, those essential, beautiful baby steps on our first backpacking trip. I can’t wait…