How To Enjoy A Backcountry Hiking Honeymoon
Is your dream to go backcountry hiking for your honeymoon? Yes? Great!
My husband and I went on a week-long backpacking trip out in the backcountry in Yosemite National Park for our honeymoon, and we had a lot of fun!
But there were some things that we probably should have done differently.
So I’ll share some general “common sense” tips, as well as tips about what I learned from our adventure. These tips should help make your special trip a success!
Backcountry Hiking Honeymoon Rule 1: Get On The Same Page
Let’s start with the obvious question: does your partner like backpacking?
If your intended has never gone hiking, doesn’t like the outdoors, and refuses to even discuss the idea of going on a hike with you, your chances of a backcountry hiking honeymoon going well are slim to none.
But assuming your partner does like hiking, and perhaps even has gone backpacking before. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a backcountry hiking honeymoon is what he or she had in mind.
It could be that they would prefer some other sort of adventure honeymoon, or maybe even were looking forward to something less strenuous.
Once you have announced your engagement, you should make sure that taking this sort of trip is exactly what you both want. Do not spring this on your partner at the rehearsal dinner — or worse yet, while at the wedding reception — or you could have some serious fireworks there — and not pleasant ones, either.
Something to avoid is the scenario where you are so excited about going that you take an “um, okay, I guess” as a “great — let’s go!”. You don’t want to spend your honeymoon with a sullen, resentful spouse who only agreed to the trip to “make you happy”.
So now you are sure that you both enthusiastically want to go on a backpacking honeymoon. The next question is where?
If your partner’s dream was to hike in Alaska and you desperately wanted to hike in Hawaii, you want to know this before you book the tickets. Get on the same page.
Preparations For Your Backcountry Hiking Honeymoon
Scheduling your itinerary
If you aren’t currently living together (and probably even if you are), you’ll want to have your first night as newlyweds somewhere other than a tent.
If you’ll have to travel quite a ways to get to your hike, that will be a given, but you’ll want to plan for that extra night when you’re scheduling the number of days you’ll need to take off work, arrange for house-sitting, pet or child care, and so on.
There could be a hotel or a bed and breakfast near your starting point, or you can check with the park to see if they have a honeymoon cabin that you can rent for a night.
Also factor in extra time for unforeseen circumstances, good or bad.
Unfortunately, things such as getting lost, injury, and plain old oversleeping do occur, so give yourself an extra day (or two) beyond what you think you could normally do the hike in.
Besides, what if one afternoon, you find the perfect lake? Or, instead of hiking, you just want to spend a day in the tent with your sweetheart?
If you schedule your hike with plenty of time to spare, you’ll have a more enjoyable honeymoon.
Scheduling in practice hikes
Especially if it’s been a while since you’ve gone backpacking, you’ll both need to do some practice hikes to make sure you and your gear are in good shape.
Sit down together and write out a schedule for them!
You’ll be surprised how much time wedding planning and preparation will take, and if you don’t have your practice hikes scheduled, you could end up sitting out in the backcountry miserably wishing you had checked your gear or had done a few more practice runs with those new boots on.
Get Familiar With The Route
Spend some time going over the map, noting the landmarks, where the turnoffs are, and about how far each branch of your journey will be.
This is something you probably should do every time you go hiking, but when you’re distracted by other things, it’s all too easy to miss that trail marker and get lost. (Don’t ask how I know this!)
Not the best way to spend your honeymoon.
Don’t forget …
Sunscreen – intimacy while sunburned is not fun
Lip balm – chapped lips are no fun either, and if you’re prone to them make sure you drink extra water before and during your trip, even if you have to use a timer to remind yourself to do so.
Birth control (if that applies to your situation)
Menstrual supplies (again, if that applies to your situation. Stress can cause irregular periods, and getting married can be stressful!)
Extra food – especially if this is your first backpacking trip, but even if it’s not. You will be expending a LOT of energy on this trip. Bring extra food, beyond what you normally bring. Bring more than you think you’ll need. Bring all the food you can carry. You’ll be glad you did.
Speaking of food …
Make your food special!
Take some time together to think about the menu for your trip. What meals would really make you feel like you were on vacation? Brainstorm to see what you can come up with.
Whether it’s carrying a small plastic pouch of wine for a toast, the ingredients for a plate of antipasto, or your sweetheart’s favorite snack, going beyond packaged rations and trail mix can do a lot to make the trip a memorable one.