We’re Ready: Five Days to Go

We are undergoing a self-imposed test of patience. We left Albuquerque on February 1 and started a leisurely two-week trek through Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky before arriving in Louisville to stay with my parents. Now, after about 10 days in town, we are playing the waiting game. And with the snow, sleet and low temperatures, we are suffering from a mild case of cabin fever.

Staying Busy While We Wait

We’ve kept busy by running errands, visiting family and friends and packing and repacking our packs. We’re going to repack again this evening. Going through my gear has been a good way to spend the time, I think. Each time I do, I find something else that I probably can do without. Alas, I often find another item to replace the removed one, but at least I am trading items out and not adding things to carry. This is a big deal for me. I am a “better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it” type of person. But I’m getting there.

After my decisions were made, we discovered that my pack weight was 17 pounds. This is with about 2/3rds of the food that I will first carry, but no water. Adam’s is about 24 pounds. I know we can do better. We know we can do better. But at this point (after Adam’s careful consideration of my selections), we are going to stick with what we have and see how it goes. We can always send something home. Also, we think our real options for shedding weight are to buy new, lighter, and more expensive gear; start slicing off toothbrush handles and such (which we may do); or shed some weight in clothes when the temperatures go up.

Our Gear List

We haven’t kept the best gear list, but sure have appreciated reading the lists that others have posted on Appalachian Trials. They have been very helpful as we make our final preparations.

Adam testing his pack.

Adam testing his pack.

Here’s a nearly complete list of what we are taking:

Packs: Mountainsmith 75L (Adam)
Gregory J63 (Dana)
Raincovers that came with the packs

Water: 2L Platypus Big Zip Reservoir (A & D)
Sawyer Mini Filter with bag (D)
Katadyn Hiker Pro (A)

Tent/Sleeping: Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent
REI Polar Pod 25 Degrees Sleeping Bag (A & D)
Sea to Summit Reactor Thermolite Mummy Liner (A & D)
REI Down Camp Pillow (D)
Footprint cut from a plastic painter’s tarp
Thermarest Z Lite Sol and Ridgerunner-type pad (D & A)

Clothing: Long sleeve wicking shirts (A & D)
REI Base Layer top and bottom (A)
Icebreaker long sleeve base layer top (D)
I forget the brand from Costco for baselayer bottom (D)
REI Wool blend hiking socks and CoolMax sock liners (D – 2 pairs each)
Thorlo mid-weight hiking socks (A – 2 pair)
Ex-Officio for unmentionables (A & D)
Keen boots (A & D)
REI hiking pants (A & D)
Fleece hats (A & D)
Fleece neck gaiter (D)
Waterproof/insulated gloves (A)
Glove liners and waterproof/insulated mittens (D)
Costco down “poofy” jacket (A)
Eddie Bauer First Ascent synthetic down jacket (D)
Frogg Toggs rain suit (A & D)
“In-town” shirts (A & D)

Misc.: MSR Pocketrocket knockoff with 2 fuel canisters
First aid kit with Advil, ace bandage, etc.
Shower gel and sunscreen
Toothbrushes and small tube of paste
Contacts, solution, etc. (for D)
Bandanas (A & D)
Camp mug (A & D)

We leave for Georgia this Saturday with the goal of starting on March 1. We’d like to keep our start date and think we can. We are, however, keeping an eye on the weather. The current forecast for Springer Mountain is not the best. I know we can’t avoid bad weather during this journey. It’s just that I was hoping for sunny skies and no rain on our departure day. It may still happen.

The one thing that I know is that we feel that we are ready. We feel that we have prepared as much as we can, we have researched as much as we can and now it is simply time to start. Let’s do this.

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