199: REFLECTIONS: The Four Year Anniversary of Our First Backpacking Trip Together

Show Notes: Episode 199

Today on the First 40 Miles, we get a little nostalgic whenever September rolls around.  This week marks the 4 year anniversary of our first 40 miles—the trip Josh and Heather took together with friends around Mt. Hood.  And even though we’ve been backpacking for a few years, there are still things that take us by surprise.  Next, for today’s SUMMIT Gear Review, a headlamp that doubles as a flashlight and triples as a stand up torch.  Then we’ll share a hack that will make your next trip to the bathroom rock.  And we’ll leave you with a little trail wisdom that will help you understand your human connection with nature.


  • Reflecting on first backpacking trip together that starting this podcast
  • Trip around Mt Hood
  • Risks with first trip
  • Josh “Is this her last trip?”
  • We keep taking trips, even though they are tough

Top 5 Things That Continue to Surprise Us About Backpacking

We learn something every single time

  • No matter the length, no matter the miles, being outside opens doors in your mind
  • Not distracted as you are at home
  • You may be concentrating or focused, but it’s the kind of focus that allows you to learn and create connections
  • Personal discovery, working out problems in your mind…

We still can’t gauge a mile

  • Our best way to gauge a mile is with the clock
  • 2 MPH=30 minute mile
  • Thru hikers can do much more than 2 miles an hour
  • Hard sections of trail will take much longer than 2 miles an hour

Pain and suffering is kind of fun…

  • I can do hard things
  • Maybe it’s not fun in the moment, but afterward it’s empowering to look back

A 15 miles isn’t 5 mile x3

  • First 5… physical
  • Second 5… mental
  • Third 5… everything else

We have reserve even when we feel depleted

  • Even when I feel like I can’t take one more step, I can always take one more step

SUMMIT Gear Review: Fenix HL10 Headlamp


  • Stretchy headband about 3/4 inch wide
  • Aluminum body flashlight attached to a holder, so you can use the light independently from the headband


  • To turn on/off hold for half a second
  • Low: 24 hours—Visibility 6 meters
  • Med: 2 hours 30 min— Visibility 19 meters
  • High: 1 hour— Visibility 30 meters
  • Stays on setting you left it at
  • Can be used as a headlamp, a hand held flashlight, or a stand up torch


  • Weighs 1.2 ounces without battery
  • Weighs 1.6 ounces with battery


  • Uses one AAA battery
  • IPX6


  • $26.95


  • Even at lowest setting, it’s bright
  • Headlamp holder curves to the shape of your head
  • Elastic, but also adjustable
  • Light weight and super bright

Backpack Hack of the Week™:  No Dig Cathole

  • Lift up a rock that’s 6-8 inches, and it’ll leave a hole that’s the perfect size for all your bathroom needs.
  • The nice thing, no digging
  • Just don’t forget to put the “seat” down when you’re finished
  • And when you put the rock back exactly where you found it, it’s practically “leave no trace” because the rock fits right back in like a puzzle piece

Trail Wisdom

“When we understand that man is the only animal who must create meaning, who must open a wedge into neutral nature, we already understand the essence of love. Love is the problem of an animal who must find life, create a dialogue with nature in order to experience his own being.”
—Ernest Becker

If you’re looking for fun backpacking books and merch, check out thefirst40miles.com/shop.