A Local Hike, a chosen piece of gear

I decided to run right out to Boston’s local Blue Hills Reservation today, one of the best hiking spots around this area. Goodness did I discover some beauty today! I hit up the Skyline Trail which is known to be the best to train on if one is interested in backpacking. Sure enough – I would rate the trail moderate to strenuous; closer to moderate, but some tough places. (I did not cover the entire trail today.) 

Of the gear I had with me today, I wanted to make note of my favorites / noteworthy items: 

Oboz Women’s Sawtooth mid-high height hiking / backpacking shoe. I call these a winning shoe all around, especially for a queer petite foot. The shoe is sturdy – I have had my pair for 3-4 years now and they are still strong. The color is for any person expressing any gender (mine are brown, a nice outdoorsy color). They are strong on the bottom, not too cushy inside and perfectly waterproof. I do not know the weight but for short backpacking trips and tough hiking they are perfect. I plan to look into lighter pair of Oboz for longer backpacking trips. 

Osprey day / overnight pack – Talon 33. (I used a 2 liter Camelbak inside.) I have had this Osprey for 6 years now and it is as strong as day one. It is perfect for a day hike — especially for a partnered person who often carries more than just one person’s worth. I had extra clothes and all kinds of weird emergency stuff with me today. I do not know if Osprey still makes the Talon 33 but if they do I would highly recommend it. I also bet that for backpacking training purposes I could shove 26 lbs into the 33 liter space if I really wanted to do so. I have a red bag; it is likely meant for men but the gender police have not taken me away in 6 years so . . . . . . .

EMS techwick shirt – soooo much more affordable than the leading brands. I recommend. I love mine. I have many of different weights. These seem to be suitable with regard to a petite gender variant queer; I feel fully me in them. Try it out . . . don’t get me wrong – Patagoochie is great but this is a wallet friendly alternative for base layers. 

REI traverse trekking poles (women’s – again, I have a small body but a big heart). These are great except the dark purple color. I suppose it is gender fluid enough, but I would prefer a more muted color. Like an earth tone green. For utility, they are good. I need to weigh mine for longer backpacking journeys; always, always, always keep weight in mind for long trips. 

Thule trucker hat. So I look like a jackass; so what? There is an episode of Friends (sitcom from the late ’90s, early 2000s) where Joey – the pretty but dumb character – pretends he has a Porsche because a pretty young woman sees him standing next to one and she is immediately attracted. I suppose I have Joey’d myself on this one. I wish I had a Thule bike rack, I really do. The hat is practical and I messed up my Marmot full brim hat by washing and drying it. Pro tip – don’t mess up your fancy Marmot hat; you may end up making a jackass of yourself in a trucker hat. Anyway, I recommend Thule trucker hats. Who knows, maybe you’ll find the girl of your dreams while wearing one? Oh yeah, my queer friend gave it to me so ha. I’m staying strong with my Thule hat. I choose the hat. 

The Dream Begins

In July of 2018, I woke up for the first time quite close to the Appalachian Trail (I had slept just off trail near Mt. Greylock). I did not know where my next 16 ounces of water was going to come from, I was tired, I had realized I knew nothing about ‘base weight,’ and I was worried. It was the best anxiety of my entire life. I should say I have biked in Boston and guided people on 3 hour canopy / zipline tours. Backpacking was better than both. As I found water that morning and approached my car on the final descent, I could not wait until my next journey. Almost 12 months later, here I am. The Queer Theologian Hiker. I should say, a queer theologian hiker (we are everywhere, after all). My trail name will be QT starting this summer when I take to the Appalachian Trail. I have a grand dream, one that I dare not type on to this page. 

The morning I woke up inside my awesome Marmot tent and then first encountered another human, they did not know my gender. I am fine with that conundrum, but other people do not seem to be. We ended up having a great conversation; he was an idealistic SOBO (south bound thru-hiker). I just hold those gender variant moments with care and tact – at least as best as I am able. Since my obsession of the Appalachian Trail has developed, I have discovered that there is not enough trail writing specific for queer people. This page serves a dual purpose: 1) to be a resource for queer hikers and backpackers and 2) to offer theological reflection pertaining to my own lived experience of the Appalachian Trail. I will include reviews of gear, notes about hiking and backpacking and general reflections that relate to spirituality and my own Christian faith. I hope you enjoy some of this! 

As Matt & Kim sing: “Let’s go!” 

“If I have a faith that can move mountains, but I do not have love, I am nothing.” 1st Corinthians 13:2b