|Photo by: Nico Schuler|
Aloha and welcome back! We are glad to say that our first week on the PCT has been stunning, inspiring, and challenging. It is wonderful to be back on trail and though it would be great to describe the desert in bloom, the cold rains, and the long waterless expanses, I have a different intention. Leading up to this journey we spent many hours researching and planning logistics to make our adventure run as smooth as possible. During the planning stage I researched the concept of expedition behavior and decided it would be wise for us to develop some personal ethics within the crew to help us get through tough times.
Expedition behavior can be described as behaviors that help a group to attain goals cooperatively. Many teams develop a pretty serious list that supports each person pulling their own weight, creating solutions, and taking care of themselves. We discussed how expedition behavior exists far beyond a list of rules that the group abides, we also determined that learning how each member of the crew operates best is a very important aspect. Every being has certain social and emotional needs that must be satisfied for them to operate at their highest potential. If we can fulfill those needs for one another through support, discussion, and sometimes by getting breakfast started, then we can succeed at making the trip much more civilized and enjoyable.
In any group, everything becomes easier when everyone does their part. We truly try to make a point of following basic routines like setting up our camp immediately upon arrival and sharing duties such as meal prep and cleanup. Doing this keeps us from falling into a mindset of complacency and enables us to be prepared for unexpected events like sudden rainstorms.
When encountering new challenges like a lack of shade, piles of trash, or obnoxious mosquitoes, rather than complain, we create solutions like getting an umbrella, sharing the load, or moving to a windy place. Sometimes telling a joke or leading a meditation can keep people's minds in a positive mood through challenging moments.
Staying positive is a major part of taking care of yourself. No one else can take care of you as well as you can, so this is one of the most important aspects of expedition behavior. Some other notable aspects are to keep organized, be hygienic, take care of your feet, and to not risk unnecessary injury or death in the backcountry. These will not only make you more approachable because you smell better, but also because you are squared away.
Ultimately, all expedition behavior comes down to one principle: Put the team first, it is a beautiful machine and each individual is merely a cog in that machine. This team machine won't work without you and you won't succeed without the team.
Thanks for joining us as we continue exploring. Until next time, Paul 'Spice' Twedt.