As we were loading up to go on a backpacking trip, Michael asked us an honest question “Do you guys share a spoon?” To conserve on dishes and pack weight, he and his girlfriend share a spoon and eat out of the same cooking pot when they go backpacking. “Nah man, we’re not into that” I responded and we all laughed.
That backpacking trip with Megan and Michael fell through because of rain, but my backpacking trip, with Adam, in the backcountry of Denali National Park last week went off without a hitch. As we were packing and getting ready a couple hours before the bus came to whisk us away into the backcountry, I looked at Adam and asked “One pot or two?”
Now we could’ve taken two pots or fancy backpacking plates and bowls so we’d each have our own to eat from, but that’d add unnecessary weight to our already heavy packs and take up precious space in our packs. We opted to go with one pot. With that one pot we’d cook and eat from it, together. Instead of turning our backs or eating at opposite ends of the river, we’d sit there across from each other eating from the same pot, but with different spoons.
Sharing with one another has never been one of those easy things to do, at least not for Adam and myself. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but maybe it has to do with us trying to identify as two separate dudes that come from the same parents, or maybe we’re afraid of the other breaking what we feel is ours, or maybe it has to do with us wanting our own space. It might be a mixture of all those things rolled into one. But sharing a pot where the other’s saliva may get mixed in with a bit of food the other’s going to eat is one of those things we’d have to put behind us if we didn’t want to deal with extra gear.
You’d think that we’d know each other pretty well by now. I mean we’ve lived together for 24 years and of those 24 years, 7 of those months have been in a van. But the more we’ve traveled this year, the more we’ve realized how little we actually know about each other. As the year’s progressed we’ve both found ourselves wanting space, time alone. I think that’s normal, for us. Our conversations have become rudimentary at times and when the other’s not driving the other’s usually texting or checking the social media news, escaping life for a few minutes. Sure we’ve grown together, but in some ways we’ve also grown distant.
Take all forms of entertainment away and you’re forced to find new forms of entertainment. We hiked through bear country together being loud and talking. We only brought one can of bear spray, so we had to be around each other all the time. And the only way to get food from onto our tiny shovels and into our mouths was from the same pot.
As much as I wanted to have my space it was nice to talk to my brother sitting across from me at dinner again. It was almost like the family dinners we had with our parents every night when we were growing up. But it’d be nice to have a bigger rock to sit on next time.