Tying Up the Nuts and Bolts as Start Date Approaches
I would be lying if I were to say that I was feeling no apprehension about by upcoming thru-hike. I am just over two weeks away from my start date. I have been battling a chest cold for four weeks now and finally have medication. This cold has knocked me off my planned course of preparation since I have not been able to exercise. I will be falling back on the base level of fitness that I have achieved over the last two years. I feel prepared for any rough day on the trail, but it’s the cumulative effect of hiking day in and day out that is on my mind. I know I will have to force myself to take recovery days. I also realize that one misstep could ruin the entire endeavor. It’s going to take countless small-measured steps to reach Katahdin.
Paring Down My Electronics
I hope to be blogging from the woods but am not yet sure if I can deal with using my phone to compose and post. I have already decided to not take my digital camera, portable keyboard, and Kindle Paperwhite. That leaves me with my Android phone, Anker PowerCore 10000, Anker PowerPort II and my ’97 35mm compact camera. I find composing posts and essays on my phone to be difficult. The screen is just too small to get an overall feel for the composition. I’ll have to see how it goes. If that doesn’t work there’s always posting from a computer while in town.
Got to Have Film
I will be carrying my lightweight and water resistant Olympus U[mju}-II (Stylus Epic). I will be shooting exclusively Kodak Tri-X 400 monochrome. I love this film since it is so forgiving in low light. I will be mailing back the exposed rolls over the course of the trip and developing them all upon my return home. Seeing the negatives for the first time will be such a joy, as it always is for me. My favorites will go online and I will also be considering a publication.
Got to Have Hot Food
As far as food is concerned, I’ve decide to take Seven’s advice and resupply at stores along the way except for the first three drops. I will be using my MSR Pocket Rocket 2 and a Vargo Bot-700 for my cookset. I fashioned an aluminum heat shield and cozy to improve fuel efficiency. I like the MSR stoves because they are lightweight and have a quick boil time. The thought of going cookless, especially in the colder weeks of the trip, brings on a vision of choking down cold, crunchy food at the end of a long day spent hiking. Call me soft, but I want the comfort of hot tea and hot food at the end of a strenuous day. To me, it just makes for a more pleasant trekking experience. Maybe in summer I will reconsider the cookless option.
I’ve been getting together soups and noodle dishes for the beginning part of the hike. The soups are nice because I can add to them items such as egg powder, milk powder, and bulgur wheat. I like to use the Japanese soup mixes for miso as a base. I don’t think I’m going to find too many Asian markets along the trail so I’m loading up in the beginning.
Tying Up Loose Ends
Final preparations have also included completing a flooring project at my house that has taken over a year and a half. I have been gluing down engineered wood on the concrete slab in about 80 percent of the house. This job was huge and involved much prepping, painting, and even the refinishing of furniture. Whole rooms of furniture were moved into other already furnished rooms. Now all I have left is putting in the threshold for the front door. This is a relief as I continue to tie up loose ends and have even begun to do some preventive maintenance. I’ve also been catching up with friends and family before I disappear into the woods. Besides the people, I will miss my records, cameras, books, computer and dog. But on the flip side I look forward to connecting with new people and living the simplicity that comes with embracing the trail.
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