The Story: A Good Love Story Always Starts in New York City. "Congratulations...You've Been Nominated!" for #HellHikeAndRaft Backpacking & WhiteWater Rafting Trip

This story starts in New York City. 

Don't all the best Love Stories start here? 

I'm hung over. From some trendy restaurant, late night, located somewhere cool in The Big Apple. My rarely used, high heeled, black, kick-ass boots and small, black, sassy dress from last night are tossed to the side of the air mattress I'd crashed on at some point last night. 

It's way too early in the morning as my younger sister, who I'm visiting for an indulgent, solo, long weekend in April, far-far away from my home in California and my normal outfit of hiking boots and Gortex, she quietly pads around getting ready for work. She's a pro at this lifestyle, and I raise an eyebrow as a "good morning" silently cursing her and thanking her at the same time. 

Somewhere in this tale, we get coffee. Either a trip together to the West Village Starbucks down the block or she goes out and brings me back my precious skinny latte. Either way, I feel a giant surge of gratefulness for the inventor of Joe... and Starbucks. What a team.

So what the fludge does this have to do with backpacking and the outdoors, you're starting to wonder. Did I tune in to the wrong channel and turn on Sex in the City, Carrie meets coffee? Keep reading....

I flick on my computer as my sis clicks her tiny apartment door behind her. Work, she has to go, I get to stay.

Still perched on the air mattress, thus wobbly both inside and out, my fingers manage to make their way around the keyboard and to my Outdoorsy Mama blog's in-box.  

North Face this. REI that. Hike here and there. 

What's this? 

"Congratulations... you've been nominated!"

Four of the most surprising and exciting words I've ever heard typed into an email. 

And thus begins my adventure with #HellHikeAndRaft, the characters, the crew, the mountains, the river, the gear and the hangover. All starting in a tiny apartment in the West Village surrounded by millions of people in New York City --- and ending in the desolate wilderness, surrounded by only space, in a place called Hell's Canyon.

Come back for the next chapters as we meet the team, the He Devil, and start the expedition via Goat's Pass. 

'Cause it's a Love Story. A love story where I fall for the wilderness, the silence, the air, the trail dogs, the hilarious crew, the river, the cactus in my foot, the beaches where we camp at the edge of one of America's greatest waterways, the most stunning fresh-air toilet views on Earth, and the craggedy mountains called the Devils. 

--Outdoorsy Mama

Hell Hike and Raft 
Where and What the Hell is Hell's Canyon?
More Stories: Hiking Camel's Hump. 
Switchback Training for Hell Hike and Raft