Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Set-Up Beer

The first time I took Brent backpacking with my Calgary pals was a trip to MacLeod Creek in August of 2009.

When backpacking, of course there is a lot of focus on bringing only what you truly need for the trip.  The essentials.  You're going to be carrying everything for your trip on your back, so size and weight are key considerations.  Every backpacker decides for themselves what "exceptions" they are willing to carry.  For some people it is a proper pillow.  Others may decide that a book is not optional, and carry along their favorite novel.  My friends have a long-standing tradition of bringing a "set-up beer" on our trips.  A "set-up beer" is pretty self-explanatory... it's a beer that you bring along to enjoy while you set up camp after lugging all your stuff in on your first day.

I like having someone to share gear with on a backpack trip.  I can comfortably carry 30lbs in a pack.  By the time I reach 33-35lbs, I'm getting uncomfortable, and carrying anything beyond 35lbs is virtually impossible for me.  Yeah, I'm just wimpy that way.  So, having someone to share the load with is awesome.

Brent and I prepared for our trip together and split up the essential gear - tent, tarp, first aid kit, food, water filter, pot and stove, and so on.  I didn't tell Brent about "set-up beer".  I snuck out and bought a couple of big cans of Molson Canadian and re-packed my pack, hiding them at the very bottom.

When the day of the trip came, we all hiked in together.  Honestly, MacLeod Creek is not a particularly interesting nor scenic trip, so as km turned into km and another km, we were all feeling very ready to reach our camp site.

Then... someone said they couldn't wait to have their "set-up beer".

Brent: "What?  What?  What is that?"

Friend: "Set-up beer!  We all bring a beer to enjoy while we set up camp!"

Brent looked absolutely stricken.  He looked at me with his heart clearly breaking, "You didn't tell me about 'set-up beer'!  I don't have a 'set-up beer'!"

I apologized to him and we kept hiking, Brent's bottom lip dragging on the ground from the pouting while my friends tormented him, expounding about the joy, and tradition, of the revered "set-up beer" (they were in on my prank).

When we got to camp, I couldn't wait to spring on him that I had, in fact, brought set-up beers for both of us.  Thankfully the relief and joy of experiencing his "set-up beer" overrode the trauma of the first practical joke that I played on him.  Yay for "set-up beer"!