First Night Out: Year of the Reader - Backpacker

First Night Out: Year of the Reader

Meet a Texas reader who chose Big Bend National Park for her inaugural backpacking trip.

 Becky Tomasek, 41, Houston, TX

THE TRIP Outer Mountain Loop, Big Bend National Park, TX, December 2012. This 30-mile loop in the Chisos winds through canyons, dry creeks, and the Chihuahuan Desert (see page 35). “On the first slope, I began questioning if I could do this—but I discovered my pack’s load lifters, pulled them snug, and everything felt better.”

THE IDEA Tomasek hiked Mt. Whitney in a day and even summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro, but says, “I don’t count having 49 porters set up my camp while I carry a daypack as completing my own backpacking trip.” Tomasek realized she wouldn’t be able to check dream hikes—like Colorado’s 14,092-foot Snowmass Mountain—off her bucket list without developing multiday backpacking skills. She set off during her Christmas break: “No one else was free, so I decided to go by myself—after all, that’s what Cheryl Strayed did.”

NEXT TIME “I went into the wilderness to unplug—so I don’t know why I brought two iPhones, another cell phone, binoculars, and my Kindle. They just added weight.”