Gleaning the Essence of Fastpacking
As my boyfriend, Andrew Charnock, a couple of friends and I crested the day's last craggy hill ...
Photos by Matt Hage
As my boyfriend, Andrew Charnock, a couple of friends and I crested the day's last craggy hill, the sun swung low in the sky and torched the long grasses of Arizona's Canelo Hills a hue of bronze. We'd been trotting a rollercoaster trail over grassy knolls, across streams and through pygmy woodlands since midday. Though our final destination was over 16 miles away, we took a moment to absorb our surroundings: a flat desert virtually devoid of human manipulation, studded with ragged mountains and glinting lakes.
Besides, there was no hurry. Our 10-pound packs were stuffed with everything we needed to spend a brisk January night in the wilderness. We set up our ultralight tents in a sandy wash ensconced in scrub oak, cooked dinner and sapped up the warmth of a campfire in the powerful silence of southern Arizona's borderlands. Small armies of stars lit the sky before a nearly full moon rose heavy and lopsided in the southeast, washing our tents in silver light.