It’s almost that time of year when shed season is behind us. Now, I’ll be whole-heartedly honest, shed hunting for us typically is just us hiking through mule deer winter range, stumbling across the odd older shed. If success was measured by the amount of dark, chocolate brown, fresh antlers we found, well, I’d be plumb out of luck; it is more of an excuse to get back in the hills and start working those leg muscles that may have just disappeared after a winter of sitting on a bucket ice fishing!
Part of having a successful (even without finding any antlers) day in the hills is all about being prepared beforehand. The obvious safety reasons to have a well-stocked backpack aside, you won’t be coming home early because you were hungry/thirsty/got blisters breaking in new boots/insert-whatever-excuse-you-want-here. Much of those problems can be avoided by making sure you have everything you need in your pack.
The number one reason I personally end up heading home from any sort of outdoor adventure is because I am getting hungry. While I always pack snacks of some sort (granola bars, jerky, trail mix, etc.), this year I’m thrilled to finally find some freeze-dried meals to pack along with our Jetboil to provide a warm meal with a little more substance. As someone who struggles to find premade options for out in the bush due to food allergies, a great little local company based out of Vanderhoof, BC, called TrailFare has created some delicious options that go great with a view! In addition to food, I always like to have lots of fresh water on hand – a water bladder makes drinking on the go a breeze, and a LifeStraw is always tucked into my pack in case I run out of water in the bladder. Instant coffee, hot chocolate or tea is a small luxury to pack along for a mid-morning snack.
Other essentials I like to pack are a small first aid kit with moleskin, an inReach in case of emergency, toilet paper (nothing worse than having to sacrifice a good pair of socks if you forget it), a compass, bear spray, fire kit (tinder sticks, matches and a lighter) and an extra pair of socks – spring weather can have you hiking through wet snow, puddles and more all in the span of an afternoon.
Having a well-stocked backpack means that you can spend all day up in the hills, hopefully coming back down to the truck with a few antlers strapped to your back as well.
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