We've been living in a state of controlled backpacking chaos for a solid week now. All those last minute projects turned out to be more numerous and time consuming than I figured. Some of them were so small they aren’t noticeable—tiny adjustments to clothing, to the itinerary, to food rations, and formatting SD cards. Then there were some larger projects like spending nearly three days making a hip belt pocket for my pack, packing the bounce box, and mailing off t
|A sample of the chaos|
I loaded up my pack for an official weigh in at 17.5—that was with a generous five days of food (I packed a few extra snacks for the travel day) and two liters of water. I ended up with a base weight just over 8 pounds—close enough to my weight goal to be satisfied. After the weigh in I took out everything I didn’t want to go through checked luggage (money, ID, camera, phone, charger…), added a couple of things from Portrait’s pack that couldn’t be carried on (tent stakes and his water bottles to give his pack a more slender profile), and then to top it off I strapped on my trekking poles. I had no interest in weighing the pack in its new heavy form. I closed up the pack and was satisfied that I wouldn’t have to get into it again until I arrived in
I think I opened it back up minutes later.
I feel a little worn down, a little nervous, and I’d be happy to not see a sewing machine again for much longer than 6 months. I keep thinking, once I get out there I’ll be able to catch up on sleep—no more late nights. And I laugh a little. Walking twenty something miles a day isn’t exactly restful, even if I go to bed just after sunset. I’m looking forward to no more list, no more double checking, no more readjusting gear, and second guessing choices. That’s the tiring part, not the late nights, and besides, once I get used to the desert I’ll be waking up at 4:30 a.m. like last year.
Leaving makes things a little sweeter and I’m more aware of them. It’s hard not to notice something like our last “civilized meal,” the last shower for a week, the last time I’ll use my pillow, get my hair cut, or paint my toe nails for six months. And every time I think it’ll be six months until I do a certain act again there is this little voice that whispers “I hope.” It’s a voice of worries, anxiety dreams, and past injuries. Even with the worry there is still no back-up plans and we tell people we’ll see them in six months.
Three planes and a bus should bring us to New Mexico tonight and then the CDT tomorrow.