183: Taking Some Friends Along

Show Notes: Episode 183

Today on the First 40 Miles, we’re planning a family backpacking trip with another family who hasn’t been backpacking before.  What can we do to give them a great introduction to the wilderness?  Then we’ll share a listener story about his introduction to the wild woods.  For Today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, a ten-card, 17-gram microgame that will provide minutes of fun on your next backpacking trip.


  • Planning to take a family out with us…four adults, six kids, what’s our plan?
  • We’ve wanted to do this!
  • Help others get out on their first backpacking trip

Top 5 Things We’ll Do To Ensure a Successful Trip With Our Friends

Gear loans

  • We’re planning a low elevation trip, close to the trailhead trip, which means, we don’t need to plan for snow or really difficult conditions
  • We’ll make sure everyone has what they need and loan whatever they don’t have


  • All they wanted was a fire…
  • We went up to the BLM spot that we’re going to and stashed some wood under a cedar tree. Hopefully it’ll stay dry until the trip out there
  • Most likely, we’ll use the fire to cook food.

Memorable food

  • Checked on allergies and food preferences
  • Mom is GF, but no other allergies
  • Last time we went up to our family backpacking spot , we roasted dough on a stick, which was ridiculous amounts of fun.
  • We also roasted old fashioned doughnut holes, which was a regrettable mistake… they’re not any better roasted.

Underwhelm them

  • The hike we picked isn’t breathtaking, but I think there’s some wisdom in this.
  • It proves that amazing memories can still be created be just being outside
  • Short, close, re-creatable

Something for everyone

  • On this trip we’ll have four adults and six kids ranging from 7 years old to 15 years old. Is it possible to ensure that everyone is having a good time?  And what does it mean to have a “good time” when you’re in the wilderness?
  • Something for the 7-year-old, the two 10-year-olds, the two 13-year-olds, and the 15-year-old kids. This might mean bringing a few zero day activities like a deck of cards, or an extra hammock…

Trail Talk from Jim Ball

He was inspired to get out because of someone he met in Houston, TX.  Love this!

Backpack Hack of the Week™: Divide and Conquer (A Micro Game)

This quick and easy game is played with ten cards pulled from a standard 52 card deck.

You’ll need numbers two through ten, plus the queen (which acts as a 12).   Divide the ten cards evenly, giving each player five cards.   Players hold cards in their hand.  They each decide which card they will play against the other player, and simultaneously play the card they have chosen.

The player with the high card wins, unless that card can be divided evenly by the opponent’s card.  In that case, the player with the low card wins!

For example, player one plays a ten, and player two plays a five.  Even though ten is higher than five, five gets a point because ten can be divided evenly by five.

You can keep track of points by turning the winner card face up and the losing card face down.  This is important because after the first round, you switch hands with your opponent, so they get a chance to play the marvelous hand you were dealt—or have to struggle with the horrible hand you were allotted.

I love the hand-switching element of Divide and Conquer, because it gives a little more fairness to the game.  It also gives you a chance to prove that it’s skill and strategy that win, not the luck of the draw.   I also love the subtlety of this game.  You are trying to out-guess what your opponent will play, since they know that you know what they have.

Trail Wisdom

“We need the tonic of wildness–to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground…. We can never have enough of Nature.”

–Henry David Thoreau