Colour My (Hiking) World
I love color.
Colors affect my mood. They make me smile. I love museum stores where they have the clocks with 12 bold colors. A brand new box of Crayolas or colored pencils is beyond exciting. The peach-into-indigo colors of a sunset can bring tears to my eyes.
But, confession time here, I can also be THAT girl. You know the one… she always likes the color golf ball that YOU got at mini golf or who never wants the color balloon she is given at parties or is willing to spend an extra $10 on workout clothes (i.e. things you sweat in) – just because of the color.
I don’t know if all of this color preoccupation came from my DNA or if it was part of a cause and effect created by living my earliest years with black & white TV. I remember when my parents got a color TV: it was amazing. I fell in love with the NBC peacock. Disney’s Wonderful World of Color had Tinkerbell setting off fireworks over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. I was enthralled.
One thing I noticed about a lot of hiker gear was the drabness…tan, brown, green, gray, greenish tan, grayish green and brownish gray – and not much else. At the AT kickoff event at Amicalola earlier this year, I attended one session on special considerations for women hikers. From the basics – how to pee in the woods and safety precautions, to thoughts on gear – our presenter shared her many experiences. Most in the crowd were also veteran hikers. They offered tips and tricks on gear and attire. Then THE topic came up. There was reference to an ultralight pack and someone gushed – “Oh, don’t you just love the purple one!” The crowd roared. Everyone had a comment on a colorful piece of equipment or how they wish they could avoid tan, brown and green, etc. forever.
I felt vindicated! It was OK to want the prettier pack. I could be a hiker and girly too!
I had already decided that, in order to minimize inadvertently leaving gear behind, I would try to buy things in a variety of bright colors. I have read about so many items forgotten in shelters on dark mornings that I thought my color fixation was easily justified by that alone. Also, amazingly, not everyone is a fan of purple socks and hot pink mittens, so some I actually got on sale. But now, having “permission” from the female AT community, I went wild. So I have a cobalt down jacket, a lime green headband and Crocs, turquoise leggings, hot pink and orange striped base layer and on goes the list. However, without a doubt, the piece de resistance is my tent. It is a custom “So Long” Tent made by Lightheart Gear. The base/floor is bright orange and the top is fuchsia. I am smiling just writing about it.
So, in the early days when it gets hard and into Virginia, when the honeymoon ends, I hope to be as “snug as a bug in a rug” in my cheery nest. And, if you decide that I am a crazy loon that you wish to avoid on the trail, well, those bright colors make that easy too!
Until then, I will be counting down the days with my slightly colorful countdown calendar.
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