This can be thought of as the fun part. It’s my job to put on weight, or at least that’s how I see it, and that endeavor has paired nicely with my longing to spend quality time with people I love….over ice cream. There has been many a beer-and-peanut-butter-cup sharing and I’m feeling honored and blessed for the incredible people in my life. I’m getting sentimental, if you can’t tell, for I will miss them all.
On the lighter side, I took my pack weight to the chopping block. I made big and small changes.
I made a few style changes here. Like giving up my palace. My 2-person tent set up has always been an enjoyable luxury for me, but I’m going to try something different this time. Imagine a thru-hike where I actually pay attention to weight.
Like going from this…..
To This!!!! Carried so casually by Wren, the 8-year-old hiking boss.
This time, I’m thinking about how every ounce is every step. For some reason, that hasn’t been all that much of a thought in my first four thru-hikes. Appalachia grants me a few graces that the Rocky Mountains do not, like frequent town stops and warm nights. Plus, I have the two greatest gear sponsors I know of; Mountain Laurel Designs (the stud-muffin of the East) and Big Agnes (the boss of the rugged west). If ever there was a time to experience a light hike, this is it. Which leads me to making decisions like not bringing camp shoes and hoping my bare feet are all I need at the end of the day. So here’s how it all added up……
- Gear changes
- The no-camp-shoes decision
- Portioning out small containers of sunscreen and water treatment
- Cutting 2 feet of excess length off of my sleeping bag liner
This change shaved off 2.2oz, thanks Trenton Harper for the suggestions
I am shaving off a grand total of 5lbs 13oz! Which is comparable to removing one elephant off your back in thru-hiking terms.
I’ve come a long way since the time another hiker tried to name me “3 Books” on the AT in 2011. To which I responded, “It’s two books and a play.” This will be a different experience, though a couple of things will be the same. Come hell or high water, I’m still not getting a smart phone. I’ll take one book to read, probably not three, and I couldn’t give up my cooking style. I love cooking in the woods. I carry produce and take long meal breaks. I’m a mountain eater, mostly. That is why it seemed appropriate to take the kids I nanny out to the woods for my last day with them. We went to our spot, the foxes den, for a tea break. As I laid back to appreciate what we’ve got, I said to them, “This is the stuff. If you ever wonder what I’m up to out there, it’s probably something like this. Sitting in a ditch, drinking coffee, feeling lucky.” In my best moments, I remind myself of Baloo the Bear.