Friday, January 6, 2023

Poetry: Let’s Talk Backpacking

winter hiking

Challenge that toward discomfort slips,

which morphs then into dull hardship.

Angry shoulders, feet forlorn.

Sweaty toes, shirts rank and torn.

In the darkness, making camp.

Wood that doesn’t burn for damp.

Sleeping poorly in a tent

in sleeping bags that aren’t meant

for cold like this.  And packaged rations

that do the trick – after a fashion.

Boots still wet the second morning,

calluses and blisters forming.

Treated water.  Outhouses –

or maybe just the woods, as is.

A canister to frustrate bears.

An injured ankle to beware,

then half a dozen other cares…


But maybe also ravens, loons.

Misty morning ponds.  And noons

of sun.  Far views of mountains fair.

Clear, cold water, cold, clear air.

With luck the Milky Way up there.

A friend along with whom to share.

A cozy lean-to by a lake,

a sunset rendezvous to make

you awestruck.  Dappled fairy glades,

and unexpected bold cascades.

Trees and magic forest power

to fill you up, each mile, each hour.

Nothing to disturb your thoughts

(unless you call up shoulds and oughts),

naught to hinder deep release:

trek in Nature, find your peace.

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Even after thirty years as a language teacher, Joe Carosella still firmly believes that Every Day Is a Beautiful Day. He hikes avidly in the Adirondacks and the UK, loves nature, ice cream, travel, languages, and words in general, and spends a lot of time writing poetry and reading. His poems have appeared in Adirondac and Ridgeline. [Instagram: josephaicarosella]

5 Responses

  1. Tommi Lou Carosella says:

    So true! After the agony, you can’t wait to do it again. Beautifully expressed.

  2. Bibi Wein says:

    Lovely to be reminded of what I miss from long-ago backpacking days, especially in this form. Thanks for posting.

  3. David Bower says:


  4. John Carosella Gardner says:

    Love it. Reminds me that discomfort is sometimes the price of admission for the extraordinary.

  5. Jeff Zappieri says:

    Nice work, old bean.

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