The Day After Burlap Underwear

Earl’s gear.
Grandma Gatewood

The point is a lot of great things were accomplished with way less than great gear. If we put things off till we get the latest “gee wiz” stuff, that is a mistake. Advertising is saturated with all kinds of over-engineered gear these days. We begin to think that stuff equals success.

Half of success is technique if half is gear. Development of technique may take time and effort but zero money. This is working smarter, the phrase that we have all heard.

I love the pic of Grandma Gatewood next to the Appalachian Trail sign with the burlap sack on her shoulder. No backpack just a sack, pretty funky. In the 1960’s I had the opportunity to hang out with Earl Schaffer the man credited with walking the AT for the first time in it’s entirety. Then he hiked twice more, once when he was seventy something. All his gear was army surplus when I knew him.

I copied him of course. Boots with no socks, modified Korean War era pack, poncho shelter. He ate dried soups which he would boil up with corn meal in it. I am trying to remember details. A guy like that could survive on pure technique and maybe a knife. “We don’t need no stinking gear!”

He is probably a major reason why I am in the Pacific Northwest. He had hiked here in the Cascade Mountains and had fallen in love with it although his home was Pennsylvania. He raved about it. And I see that he died there in the East in 2002.

Anyway, maybe I am just old school but think about it. Things don’t have to be perfect for you to start. “Just do it” as they say.

don’t hesitate loves, Felipé.

5 thoughts on “The Day After Burlap Underwear”

  1. Whaaaaa? NOT perfect to get started? In ANYthing?
    Whoa back!
    Ya mean just be yourself and do your best and be aware of what and how you’re doing and feeling… and… like, wait a minute!… and don’t get all of judgmental towards yourself about being imperfect?? Or let fear of imperfection be concrete boots before you even get started? And, really?, allowing imperfection not just about hiking or rowing or fishing or hunting, but about approaching people, making friends, finding joy in the moment, or at least attempting to face and know the imperfections of the moment…?
    Sheeesh. NOW ya tell me! THAT woulda changed about 68 years of my life!
    Welp, better get started. Never too late – unless we demand perfection at the start…

    1. Steve-O ~ oh, love you man! Thank you for taking my point further. Yes, this perfection thing has to go. Hope to see you soon. Felipé.

  2. I love Grandma Gatewood’s story. She walked the AT 3 times, climbed numerous peaks in the Adirondacks, and walked the whole Oregon Trail from Independence MO to Portland, OR. She hiked many shorter trails in OH, PA, and N.Y. all between age 67 – 77. On her 1st walk, she foraged along the trail, ate bullion cubes and accepted a meal when it was offered. She always answered the why question, as in why do you do it, by saying: “Because, I wanted to.”

    1. Catherine ~ I must read her book. Too bad she’s not around, we could put her up for President! Who sold us that idea that equipment equals success. She certainly didn’t get that memo. Felipé.x

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