Are Words too Heavy to Carry?

Simple, tasty camp food.

Simple, tasty camp food.

I was browsing through a book we own called Freezer Bag Cooking by Sarah Svien and thinking it had a lot of easy recipes that we might try while we are hiking—like Creamy Spinach-Veggie Rice which calls for dry Cream of Spinach soup, dry milk, instant rice and freeze dried vegetables. You mix all that stuff with boiling water and Voila! you have dinner. It sounded easy enough and tasty enough.

There were lots of recipes like that, but we weren’t about to drag  the whole dang book along, so I decided to write down  a few of the recipes –but, not on paper. That would just mean more stuff to carry. I got out my ‘thingy’  and started typing away. Not too long into this recipe project, I  found myself leaving out  words and leaving out letters, and abbreviating every other word. But why? I  wasn’t in a hurry and I didn’t need to save space. Hmm. What was going on here?  Then it hit me!  We’d been spending so much time lately evaluating the weight of every single piece of minutia that was going into our backpacks that I had  subconsciously been  ‘weighing’ every word that I wrote — leaving out anything unnecessary so that when I got done, my ‘thingy’ wouldn’t be too heavy to carry! Oh my.

At 700 pages, Moby Dick is not the lightest book to take hiking!

At 700 pages, Moby Dick is not the lightest book to take hiking!

Some  words do have weight though–too much weight. When Mel first hiked the trail several years ago, before he had any electronic devices and before he packed super light,  he actually took a real book with him — not just any book, a ginormous book–  Moby Dick ginormous–over 700 pages! Fortunately,  it wasn’t  hardcover and Mel had the good sense to rip out pages after he read them so that the book got lighter and lighter as he went along. For this trip, however, we are not taking any books, electronic or otherwise,   because it is highly unlikely, after a long and tedious day of hiking,  that we will even have the mental wherewithal to  eat, let alone comprehend the written word.

For those of you who are ‘weight junkies’ like we  are, here’s my gear list (minus food and water).  Mel will have the tent and the cooking supplies. Weight is in ounces.

Mel making waterproof, breathable mittens to go over our wool mittens.

Mel making waterproof, breathable mittens to go over our wool mittens.


  1. Walking shorts  3.70
  2. Walking shirt   4.84
  3. Sleeping shorts   3.24
  4. Short sleeved sleeping shirt  4.34
  5. Long  sleeved wool shirt  10.20
  6. Fleece ‘sweater’ 9.10
  7. Long johns (tights)   7.84
  8. Three pairs of socks  6.09
  9. 1 Bra, 1 pair of undies  2.0
  10. Wind jacket  4.34
  11. Down jacket  7.72
  12. Rain jacket   6.94
  13. Rain pants   5.78
  14. The mittens Mel made.

    The mittens Mel made.

    Wool mittens and rain covers  3.20

  15. Brimmed hat and fleece hat   3.20
  16.  Waldies (maybe; they’re like flip flops)  9.42
  17. Bandana and Buff    2.4
  18. Long pants (maybe)  6.4


  1. Pack towel   .9
  2. Poop scoop, toilet paper, hand cleaner     3.4
  3. Medicines   3.0 (estimate)
  4. Eyeglass case   1.12
  5. Toothbrush  .7


  1. ‘Purse’   1.0
  2. Credit card, medical cards   1.0 (estimate)
  3. Money  1.0 (estimate)


  1. Walking with my pack for practice.

    Walking with my pack for practice.

    iPod Touch with protective shell    5.00

  2. Waterproof case 1.90
  3. Bluetooth keyboard  5.14
  4. Cables and charger  6.8
  5. Stylus   .1

Sleeping Gear (Mel will have the tent)

  1. Sleeping bag      32.oo
  2. Sleep mat and bag  12.46
  3. Inflatable pillow   2.9

Eating Utensils

  1. Cup with lid    3.0
  2. Spoon  (titanium)   .6


  1. Headlamp   2.9
  2. Mini light    .2
  3. Backpack   (ULA Circuit)   32.0

Total weight (without food or water):             13.3    lbs

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Comments 6

  • Nancy Camden : Mar 24th

    What a bonus that you are a good writer as well as hiker!

    • Jeanne Church : Mar 24th

      Thanks, Nancy. I hope that once we start hiking, I will have the time and the mental agility to write a coherent story!

  • Nancy Camden : Mar 24th

    If you can manage to get the thingy out –just type, “Walking” — my imagination will take it from there and I will know you are still out there, walking.

    • Jeanne Church : Mar 24th

      I will always have my thingy handy for taking pictures and for recording notes so that by the end of the day I will have at least some memory of what we just did!

  • Jill : Mar 24th

    Way to go! But take the long pants and one more pair of undies. Always cool or cold in the morning. You can always dump them if it is not worth lugging them along. Or I guess if you decided you wanted them you will be able to come across them when you cross roads.
    Wow, are you ever going to have fun!

    • Jeanne Church : Mar 24th

      Thanks for the feedback! My shorts actually have underwear built in, so I’m good there. The lightweight long pants were mostly for the plane to Georgia, otherwise, I have tights and rain pants for warmth and rain. I’m still deciding what to take and what to leave behind, but most of it is on the “to go” list.


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