In September I took a practice hike from home to a local recreation area to set up my new tent and carry 20+ pounds for six miles. Less than half a mile from home I was stopped and essentially asked if I was a homeless person. I was unshaved that day (I never shave on a hiking day; it’s tradition) and carrying my trekking poles on my pack instead of using them (appreciate the stow-as-you-go attachments on my Kestrel, Osprey), so apparently I had that permanently-address-free thing going on that morning.
Then I spent $5 on protective tip covers for my BD Ergo Cork poles in mid-January.
Fast forward to last Thursday. I decided to duplicate most of the route I took last fall (though I didn’t set up my tent; there’s snow on the ground in these here parts and winter camping I’m not doing. Yet) and built up a solid rhythm using my tip-equipped aluminum sticks and carrying 20+ pounds on my back. And no shaving the face, of course.
This time, not only did I not get stopped by a concerned citizen of the greater Hermon, ME area regarding my residence status, I actually got smiles and waves from a few passersby.
Moral of the story? It only costs five dollars to go from non-itinerant vagabond to full-fledged member of the backpacking community among the outdoorsy folks of Hermon.