This April, I took my 53-year-old mom on her first backpacking trip ever. We spent 4 days in the stunning backcountry of Sequoia National Park and strengthened our minds, bodies, and, most importantly, our relationship. I had seen and experienced the selfless, deeply loving side of her, but the time we spent together on the trail showed me her gritty, badass side.
To My Mom: Thank you for your relentless, unconditional love throughout my life. I love you so much.
- Byson Malone
Reflections by Nancy Malone
“Bryson taught me how to use the backpacking stove, which allowed us to eat warm, surprisingly tasty meals throughout the trip.”
“Aside from the view from a plane, I had never been in such a vast place on earth. The colors and snow-topped mountains made this untouched land surreal.”
“Being in the moment and living in the natural rhythms of nature was enough. I had no errands to run, no distractions, and the sound of the rivers beside us - I was content.”
“Our mornings consisted of sharing a yummy hot cup of coffee, eating a warm breakfast, and packing up camp to be on our way.”
“I was very excited to join Bryson in doing what he loves to do: hiking through rivers, over rocks and around fallen trees”
"Around every corner there was a new, spectacular view. Endless, infinite earth like I've never experienced in my life. I couldn't comprehend the entirety of life."
“I've always loved the sound of rain and running water, but it was magical hearing the power of the streams and waterfalls as we fell asleep in the tent.”
“The first night was around 15 degrees. I was scared that I would not stay warm through the night. I was able to sleep thanks to 6 layers of clothing, a down blanket, down sleeping bag, and a bag liner.”
“The warmth of the morning sun at 8,000 feet is relieving and rejuvenating”
“Though small in reality, the tent provided more comfort and warmth than I thought we would have while backpacking”
“The morning of day two I was injured after slipping on frozen pine needles and landing on granite, my sacrum taking the full force of my fall. This left me with a set of challenges I had not prepared for: talking myself through the pain while continuing to cross water, climb over trees and hike through the forest.”
“I experienced a full range of human emotion from lighthearted fun during card games, to intense pain and misery while hiking the last day.”
“The one thing I wish we had brought was Tequila!”
“Even with the pain and discomfort of backpacking, I am looking forward to another trip soon. I yearn for the opportunity to push myself in distance and push through the tough moments.”
After 4 days on the trail:
BRYSON MALONE is a professional freelance photographer who uses 35mm and medium format film to show both the beautiful and uncomfortable moments that characterize the outdoor experience. He works full-time as a photographer and designer at Huckberry.