All of my outdoor life I have “been prepared”—carried my ten essentials, and then some. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Essentials has an excellent article on the importance of bringing extra gear to handle the inevitable surprises that wilderness travel presents to the backcountry wayfarer.
On a recent ski trip my years of traveling with the “ten essentials plus” saved one woman’s ski trip. Friends and I were staying in a backcountry hut—a 12 kilometer ski from the trailhead, along a ridge looking into the Cascade Mountains. After a morning of skiing, we had returned to our hut to prepare soup.
A knock on the door revealed three women skiers from a nearby hut asking if anyone had an extra “three pin binding”. This is a particular ski binding that is not used often anymore, but it is similar to what I use on my old, tried and true skis, so I carry a spare in case mine breaks.
“I have one,” I volunteered.
“You’re kidding!” they said in unison. We all looked at one another—women graying in our 50s and 60s, yet still out here on the edge determined to have adventures.
“No, I have been carrying it for 20 some years hoping it would be useful someday,” I said. We had a great time laughing and sharing stories about how help almost always appears when you need it in the back country.
After half an hour, they donned their skis to return the 6 kilometer trail to their hut to share the good news with their friend who was thinking she would have to try and ski back to the trailhead hopping along on one ski.
It delights me when my old-fashioned values work.