How To Have Type Two Fun – Backpacker – Backpacker Magazine | Gmx Pharm

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Brush up on your backpacking basics with tips, tricks and advice from backpacker experts in Hiking 101.

I spent the night shivering. I was deep in Colorado’s Weminuche Wilderness in April, and it was cold – somewhere in my teens. All night I watched the moisture of my breath pour into the darkness of the tent. By morning it had frozen to a smooth sheet of white ice up to the walls.

When my alarm went off at 6 a.m., I stepped over my partner, slipped my blistered feet into frozen ski boots, and hobbled through the woods with my avalanche shovel. Nature was calling, and I had to dig through two feet of snow before I would be given the privilege of hacking my six-inch cat hole. This was my first backcountry ski tour. I wasn’t sold.

We spent the day working up steep, icy 2,500 foot slopes. Every time I pulled off my sticky skins to ski, the wind would whip them up and glue them to my jacket, my hair, and myself. Imagine you’re working with foot-long strips of duct tape in front of a box fan and you’ve got a pretty good approximation.

That night I returned to my tent exhausted – only to find that the sun had warmed the walls and the condensation had melted right into my bedding. My down sleeping bag lay curled up like a withered rose petal. It was soaked. I tried not to cry. Temperatures were expected to drop back into the teens that night – and for the three nights thereafter.

Spring, I said to myself. You wanted an adventure.

Whether it’s winter camping, rain hiking, or backpacking in triple-digit heat, hike long enough and you’ll be doing it in absolutely miserable conditions. The secret to still having a good time? Knowing how to stay calm and find the silver linings. At least that’s my conclusion after surviving everything knotty food poisoningto Toxic plantsto Not enough food on the way– not to mention a long career ice climbing and bad weather mountaineering. Here are some of the tips I gathered along the way.

Learn to identify Type Two fun.

Heart-pounding hikes might be scary right now, but they’re great stories. (Photo: epicurean/E+ via Getty Images)

Redefining suffering as “type two fun” or “type three fun” is the first step to embracing it. If you’re not familiar with the fun scale, it goes something like this:

Enter One Fun is anything just fun. Think rope swings, water slides, hiking downhill when the weather is great—all the things that make you say “whee, that’s fun” in the moment (and especially out loud).

Enter two fun is all that’s fun in hindsight: you weren’t happy at the time, but afterwards you were really glad you did.

Enter three fun basically no fun. It sucks, it’s probably a little dangerous, and you never want to do it again. The only “fun” part is telling the story later.

To solve the Problem.

Now that you realize that your fun is no longer Type One, ask yourself if the situation is fixable. Can you spend five minutes warming your cold hands in your armpits? Get out of the tent and onto a flatter spot? Are you swapping out your wet socks for dry ones (or better yet, wrapped in plastic bags to keep puddles out)? Suffering is great and all, but don’t do it unless you have to.

lie to yourself.

IIt’s wet and freezing and you’re exhausted, aren’t you? Not correct. Whining only makes things worse. If you can’t do anything to improve your situation, turn to your partner and say, “Wow, I’m so warm right now. Warm and energetic! I think we can do 10 miles today, what do you think?” Or openly denying that there is rain: “Rain? There is no rain. Rain is a state of mind.” Best case: you’ll actually see for yourself. Second best: you’ll both laugh and the mood will improve.

Sing about it.

When things are just too abysmal for sarcasm or self-deception, you’re allowed to complain — but only in song format. It sounds silly, but it’s actually quite Zen: singing about the rain or the mud, or how hungry you are, is a way to acknowledge and name your suffering without getting sucked into the negative brain spirals screaming at you And let yourself be told I’ll never hike again. Try it.

Take a snack break.

A hiker sits on the ground and eats.
When push comes to shove, attend to your immediate needs. (Photo: Cavan Images/Cavan via Getty Images)

If you start to get really anxious, stop. If it’s cold, sit on your backpack and put on your big jacket. If it rains, put up a tarp or find a dry place. When you’re starved or dehydrated, you’re more likely to feel cold, disoriented, or irritable. Eat something sugary (those Snickers commercials were up to something), drink some water, and/or make yourself a warm beverage. Then make a plan.

Remember that you are alive.

Gratitude is another proven way to lift negative moods and ease anxiety. While you’re taking that snack break, try this: look at the scenery, take four deep breaths, and remember you’re alive. You are not in an office. You are not in a hospital. You’re out in nature doing something relatively cool. Let that sink in. Then name three other things you are grateful for.

Think about how good the stories will be.

A hiker pushes through rain and wind.
Bad weather is a state of mind. (Photo: Ashley Cooper/The Image Bank via Getty Images)

WWhen you’re deep in pain, it may feel too early to laugh at the situation. But try to take a step back anyway. Are your setbacks starting to get ridiculous? Feeling like you’re at the end of the second act of a comedy? Start imagining how you will tell the story when you get home. Chances are, a lot of this will be funny in hindsight.

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