When my daughter deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year, I knew I had to do something in support of her service. It had to be something meaningful to her and me, something special.
She was only seventeen and still in high school when she decided to serve her country. She would leave for basic training two months after graduating high school and then graduate basic training on her eighteenth birthday.
I was fortunate enough to pin her when she ranked up back in AIT, but there was nothing I could do to show my support for her now that she was deploying, other than saying “be careful and I love you.”
Within days of her leaving, I felt that desire of showing her what her service meant to me, but I had no idea what. Then, out of nowhere, it clicked. Her passion of the outdoors was only parallel to mine. Her favorite store is Bass Pro Shops, where we would spend quite a bit of time when life permitted. At that moment, I resolved to backpack, in support of her, from Big Bear, CA down to Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, some 70 miles away, this coming June.
I’ll be traveling across the PCT as I wind my way down to the 15 Fwy. From there, I will continue through Lytle Creek as I make my way to Victoria Gardens where Bass Pro Shops lies.
Though the trip is scheduled to last four days, I’ve given myself an extra day for unforeseen situations.
I’m no gram weenie, not entirely anyway, but will try and keep my pack weight, minus food and water, at under 10 pounds. To accomplish that, I will be taking just the necessities and dispense with a lot of the traditional backpacking and outdoorsman gear—a cook set among other things.
We often get so caught up with our lives we forget to acknowledge our loved ones and their sacrifices. Perhaps your spouse gave up a flourishing career to stay home and raise a family. Maybe a friend sacrificed a personal trip to be there for you in a time of need. Saying thank you and acknowledging their sacrifices doesn’t have to cost money. It’s not what you buy or do, rather why you did it that leaves the greatest impression.