For a super short queer gear review, find me on Instagram – preachersaraholla. For thoughts and more thorough review, keep reading!
On July 2nd, I was Long Trail bound. The Long Trail in Vermont is where the concept of the Appalachian Trail began years ago. Along the way, I picked up a couple of new trail names thanks to a thru-hiker I met that goes by WontGetUp. She was really rad. She first said, “I have an easy one if you don’t have one – Rev.” I explained my concept of QT (Queer Theologian) Hiker or just QT and she explained to me with all honesty and care that she simply did not see the name as something all hikers can handle. I decided her point was strong – Rev is likely more palpable for many people. I’ll save QT Hiker for those who I know can handle all of that / this. I am Rev, a Queer Theologian Hiker.
She also thought I could be called Carwash the Mystical Racoon. And just now I realized I could also spell Mystical like the rapper from the early 2000s – Mystikal. That could be fun. This one, however, was quickly vetoed by a number of other people present at Stratton Pond shelter.
Before I get into the majesty that was the AT the past few days, I figure it is time for me to qualify what it means to be a Queer Theologian Hiker.
First Queer – Yes, this word is loaded for a lot of people. However, for many young(ish) LGBTQ people it is the most inclusive way of identifying as gender variant and possibly gay or lesbian. Some queer people do not accept labels like lesbian and gay because those terms have often been pitted against other groups. It is a bummer. I identify as a queer / gender variant and gender non-conforming lesbian. In hiker speak, that means I’m the person who generally looks like she doesn’t belong in the women’s or men’s section at REI. There are A LOT of us. A LOT. I plan to try and do something about that. We should have a section, even if it was online.
Sure, queer can mean strange or odd. I hope to be queer in the absurd way – the positively absurd way. Like an abstract painting that seems off but is so noticeably perfect. Or . . . like a flying squirrel who is resilient and brave! Queer is not within the norm, it is outside the norm though sometimes hidden.
And, of course, queer, in this blog, means of the LGBTQIA+ type. No, I do not want to tell you want that means. If you have to ask, ask someone else. You would, however, likely figure it out based on context clues in this blog – so keep reading!
Okay – I hope Queer is making sense. Let me see if I can make some sense out of theologian. As a theologian, I am expected to speak some sense about God or experiences of the Divine, which I do hold to be ever present. I am a Trinitarian Christian, seeing God as revealed through Creator / parent / mother / father, Son / Jesus, and Holy Spirit. Theology is literally ‘talk about God.’
So, as the QT Hiker I take my queer experiential lens to theology which I find to be so very present on the Appalachian Trail and other trails like it! If you want to read up on Queer Theory, I suggest Judith Butler. If you want to read up on Queer Theology, I suggest Patrick Cheng. There are many others – hit up Google Scholar for more sources – they abound. If you do so, be ever aware of which voices are being honored / utilized. It affects the narrative and it matters.
As I took to Stratton Mountain this week, it became clear, once again, that God cannot be missed in the wilderness. You would think that with people like Thoreau and so many other contemplatives reminding us about the importance of the natural world we wouldn’t need to harp on this, but our earth is in trouble. It is clear that we need to be reminded of how God is made known through the trees, the air, the dirt, the rocks, the roots, the insects, the spiders, the chipmunks — ALL the members of these delicate ecosystems. Because of this fact, I’ll keep advocating for queer gear and providing reviews as I continue to seek happy trails.
Queer gear reviews
My main highlights for this review are of the Osprey Kestrel 48L pack and the REI youth L 650 fill down jacket. The pack is great – its pockets, its fits, its look, everything about it. I am not sure which gender it is ‘supposed’ to be assigned to but for us queer folx, this does not really matter. The dark red is perfectly androgynous. It doesn’t have me leave my gender identity at the trail head.
The REI youth L 650 fill down jacket was just great for the morning I woke up. To be cozy with the chill of the morning was super nice, super valuable. If you are a petite queer, you are lucky because the youth gear will be more affordable. If you are not petite, best of luck – REI (and most other companies) have not caught onto full gender inclusion. I would guess that the women’s and men’s are decent but not as good a financial deal and possibly not as queer a fit. Test out your options. Always, always, #queerit . . . In theory, the jacket would serve as a pillow. I did not find that as helpful. I will be taking my Marmot pillow next time, coming in at 1.2 oz. I believe it will be worth the weight.
My consigned Swatch Watch gets honorable mention for gear that is not usually seen as gear. It also reads as ‘queer’ in my opinion, which matters. If you don’t identify as queer and you are wearing one. . . . got ya.
Queer food mentions go to Alpine Start’s Coconut Creamer Latte. I was able to make 2 cups of coffee out of one packet and did not have to sacrifice my commitment to a more plant-based diet. Similarly, Mountain House Brand’s Pasta Primavera was just absolutely delicious. I will definitely be having that again – hopefully I’ll find a vegan one soon! If you are wondering where I get my protein . . . plants have protein. Also, the earth needs us and having a more plant-based diet is one of the simplest (and most affordable) ways to reduce your ecological footprint.
The SpotX gets an A++ for giving peace of mind. I really enjoyed being able to check in with my sweetie and mom during my adventure. Unfortunately, it did seem like the battery life was kind of poor. Only time will tell. Generally, I like it! SpotX is the two-way Spot GPS system. It could help with loneliness, to which all humans are susceptible.
Oh yeah – final review – Guthooks. It made map life way easier. You can download super specific trails for wherever you are hiking. Guthook’s Long Trail download was immensely helpful to me.
Final review – HIT THE TRAIL. Search for wisdom in the woods, be yourself and have fun.
Thanks for reading!
- Rev / QT Hiker / Carwash the Mystical Raccoon.
2 thoughts on “Vermont’s Long Trail”
Just finished reading…. This is amazing. VERY well written, creative, interesting even to non-campers. I would love to talk to you for awhile about finding God in nature. You go girl!!
On Sun, Jul 7, 2019 at 5:07 PM QT Hiker (A Queer Theologian Hiker) wrote:
> pastorsarahikes posted: “For a super short queer gear review, find me on > Instagram – preachersaraholla. For thoughts and more thorough review, keep > reading! On July 2nd, I was Long Trail bound. The Long Trail in Vermont is > where the concept of the Appalachian Trail began years a” >
Thanks for the comment pops! I just made a post about our lovely hike last summer. Miss you!