A Vacation Getaway

Photo Credit: Sharon St. George

by Sharon St. George

Have you ever longed for a few days without computers, television, do-everything phones and devices? My favorite luxury getaway is one where the only sound of civilization is the distant murmur of a commercial jetliner passing overhead.

And speaking of travel, the mode of transportation in the wilderness is as basic as it gets. It's called walking, and requires nothing more than a well-fitting pair of boots and proper socks designed for hiking. The movie, Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, does a great job of demonstrating the problems encountered with incorrect footwear.

Hiking accessories can be minimal, with everything necessary fitting in a backpack. Again, Witherspoon's character went far overboard with her pack. With the load she carried, she should have taken along a llama or two.

A few words about llamas. They are great pack animals, but only if the hikers are proficient llama packers. I have it on good authority that hikers with no llama handling experience should not try to rent these extraordinary animals for packing. According to my source, who has seen it happen, it can quickly turn into a "horror show."

Accommodations are basic, and visitors are cautioned that there will be no maid service. Even so, wilderness hiking requires that visitors leave their lodgings as pristine as if they were never there. Nothing is more disheartening than arriving at a campsite and seeing empty beer cans and cigarette packs scattered on the ground. Fire rings should be dismantled, broken fishing line, particularly dangerous to wildlife, should be picked up and packed out along with all other trash.

Dogs may be allowed on your trip, but check ahead to be sure. Outdoor outfitters sell doggy backpacks, so Rover can carry his own food. If your dog does come along, it should be on a leash. Owners who do not follow this recommendation may be subjecting their animals to a heap of trouble. Dogs who spook passing llamas or horses on the trail could end up the victim of a powerful kick severe enough to spoil the outing.

Overall, the preparation involved in wilderness hiking is well worth it when the destination is reached. There's a special joy in sitting on a fallen log after a dinner of fresh caught trout, sipping hot cocoa while watching moonlight rippling on a clear mountain lake. No TV, no Internet, just human to human communication around a glowing campfire. Ahh . . . time to book a trip.

For information on wilderness hiking throughout the U.S., contact: fs.fed.us/organization/506

Sharon St. George is the author of the Aimee Machado Mystery series, set in Far Northern California and featuring a hospital librarian who lives in a bunkhouse over her grandparents' llama barn. Book 2, Checked Out, features a trip to the wilderness to try to rescue a missing nurse. Visit the author at: sharonstgeorge.com or read about her in Enjoy Magazine's September Issue.