WEIGHT AND BALANCE
My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-three today and we don't know where the hell she is. ~Ellen DeGeneres
Ounce by ounce and pound by pound, the weight of my backpack continued to increase.
The weather forecast was for two nice days followed by rain. That meant I had to take rain gear and some warmer clothing. I decided on layering with a microfiber long-sleeved pullover and a light fleece pullover. I added a rain shell plus a warmer jacket, both made of microfiber.
|Wore some, carried some.|
I figured rain pants over my hiking pants would be more than enough to keep me warm during a mountain rainstorm at 2400 feet elevation. I knew very well that mountain rainstorms are never warm, usually accompanied by wind, and hypothermia was always a factor.
An emergency plastic poncho, the kind the gift shop at Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island in Hawaii sells to tourists, and a rain cover for the backpack went into the pack.
|Maps, first aid kit, bug wipes, trowel, extra battery for the camera, kerchief, TP, sunscreen, rope for hanging food in necessary,and personal stuff. Plus an ID bracelet in case a bear came calling.|
|Dinner bell and flavor spray.|
Knowing that I eat little when hot and working, I had to compromise what would be a poor appetite with eating enough calories to continue working. I figured on a six-day supply, still leaving open the decision on routes.
Peanut butter and jelly on multi-grain sandwich thins sounded fine for breakfast. A piece of cheese and a chunk of sausage for lunch, Fiber One bars for snacks plus a small baggie of gorp, went into the bag. Then I added six Mountain House freeze-dried dinners, plus a few tubes of sugarless Crystal Light lemonade. And some Constant Comment tea bags.
|This is not preprandial; this is postprandial. I would have been fine on a quarter of what I took.|
The shock came when I stuck two full liters of water into the pack. That increased the weight by five lbs., but I had no choice. I’d purchased treatment tabs that took four hours to work. I had to carry water.
I added three essentials: a journal, write-in-the-rain pen, and my Kindle. I could lie in my sleeping bag and play Every Word on the Kindle while I waited for sleep. Altogether, they added only a pound.
What was I doing, I wondered again. Almost seventy years old, haven’t backpacked any distance since I hiked the Chilkoot Trail in 1973, bad feet. Was I trying to prove something to myself? Prove I still had it?
|Aleve for what hurts.|
Or, could it be that I was hoping to open new horizons…..and re-open old ones?
By the time Erin dropped me off at the Cooper Landing trailhead, my pack weighed forty-two lbs. Too much, too much, but I couldn’t ditch the water. Once again I wondered why no one worried about giardia forty years ago when I was backpacking frequently. We’d never treated our water then, just drank right from the stream.
To compensate, I ate one of the peanut butter sandwiches and looked at the trail ahead of me.
|The longest journey begins with a single step Attributed to Lao-tzu ( c 604- c 531 bc ), founder of Taoism.|