Regardless of Weight
Mel and I were at the coffee shop again this morning, as we are many mornings, ready to wile away a leisurely hour or two drinking our respective beverages and reading our favorite books. We come to the coffee shop so often that we have met a number other ‘regulars’. Sometimes, there is so much conversation going on that we never actually read our books. Of late, there have been many, many questions about our upcoming hike. Mostly, people ask about the usual things: bears, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, ticks and guns (as in “Are you going to carry one?” Hell no!!) . But today, there was an altogether new question: “What is the one thing you absolutely have to take with you regardless of weight?” While I paused thoughtfully to contemplate an intelligent answer, Mel blurted out, “My wife!!” Ha! He might not have been so quick with that particular answer if he actually had to carry me on his back!
I was still thinking about my answer, and decided that, even though it wasn’t a necessity, I’d have to say my little 5.14 ounce Bluetooth keyboard would be my ‘must have’ item (which is relatively heavy for lightweight backpacking). I love to write and I’m eager to continue posting updates, but I certainly don’t want to tap it all out with a stylus–or try to dictate it into my ‘thingy’. In order to write coherently, I have to type with all my fingers.
But, back to the original question. My answer is, “If Mel didn’t go, I wouldn’t go–so, my absolute ‘must have’ regardless of weight item would also be him.”
At the very same coffee shop today, I had my eye on something to eat. I’m used to reading labels and looking for the number of calories and the number of fat grams before I buy something to eat. If either one of those numbers is higher than I like, I put the item back. Today though, I looked at the 11 grams of fat on a package of chips and smiled. In exactly one month, it won’t matter if I eat 11 grams of fat or 100 grams of fat. On the contrary–I will actually be in hot pursuit of fat! That idea alone makes this whole journey seem worthwhile! Just think of it– six months of eating anything and everything you want regardless of calories–ice cream, pizza, bacon, french fries! Yum!
All this got me thinking about another question: Is there anything we didn’t consider buying for this trip regardless of cost? Almost everything we bought was evaluated based on how much it weighed, how useful it was and how much it cost–but not necessarily in that order. In our day to day existence, the cost of an item is a primary consideration. For this trip, however, weight and usefulness took top billing. We considered price, but we have certainly spent much more than we usually would have in order to have lightweight items– even a lightweight poop hole digger–all in an effort to keep the weight of our packs under 25 pounds (including food and water).
One thing we really did splurge on, though, was getting our clothes professionally treated with permethrin by a company called Insect Shield. Permethrin is a pesticide that kills ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, mites and more than 55 other kinds of insects on contact but has no harmful side effects on humans if used properly. We decided to send our clothes to Insect Shield rather than spray them ourselves because the factory treatment lasts considerably longer (70 washings compared to six). We treated our socks, shorts and shirts. It was expensive, but well worth it given the number of ticks we could attract over the course of six months. Here is the link to the Insect Shield order form:
Hopefully, we won’t come home with Lyme disease!
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Love the professional spray!!! I can’t beleive your pack is 25 lbs with food and water!! that is awesome!
I hope the ticks and mosquitoes give us a wide berth!!