Backpacking is a blast. Finding new hiking trails. Adding just a few extra miles to get to the most picturesque water-side campsite. Eating by a warm crackling fire. Seeing the night-sky; oh so bright! Hearing the stillness of the woods. The fresh air.

There’s something that all backpackers talk about. Yes, all of the above but the number one thing backpackers talk about is how to trim the weight of the pack down. How much should I carry? How much is absolutely necessary. Can I get a lighter tent? How many days’ worth of food do I absolutely need to take? Should I take dehydrated food? Should I carry water, how much can I carry before I need to find a water source and use a water purification system? Do I need a stove? Can I cook by an open fire? Do I really need an extra pair of shoes?

Some backpackers that hike the Pacific Crest Trail try to trim down their weight of their backpack even to the point of using a half-toothbrush.

One of my first backpacking trips was in the Smoky Mountains. My husband and I were excited to join a group of other young backpacking enthusiasts and hike trails for four days. We were in our 20’s, in good shape and decided that we were going to eat well, very well on this trip. Indeed! Our backpacks were filled with all sorts of goodies — nut mixes with M&M's, pancake mix, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, veggie hot dogs, curry and rice — and six gigantic potatoes for roasting in an open fire.

Those potatoes went back and forth between our two backpacks for four straight days. We jostled and tossed our backpacks on our shoulders…trying to disperse the weight and always saying to each other, “We need to eat those potatoes tonight for supper. They will taste so good!” And each night after miles and miles of hiking, we pitched our tent, rolled out our sleeping bags, and found the easiest thing in our backpacks to cook up. Not the potatoes!  On our final day of hiking, we took those potatoes and threw them as far as we could into the woods.

Call to Remember

This reminds me that I often carry burdens around tossing them back and forth, adjusting them, holding on to them needlessly. Worry about getting COVID-19. Anxious about losing my job. Fearful of racial and political tensions in my community. These are no “small potatoes!” But what’s really cool about our Christian journey is this: These worries and fears can all be given to God and we can move through our day burdened-free!  

Today Lord, I claim your promise in Psalm 55:22 that say's to "Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you..." (ESV).

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