Saturday, June 3, 2017

Two more sleeps...

Two more nights at home.  That's it.  Then this whole ball starts rolling - figuratively and literally.

I gathered all the gear I'd collected in the last handful of months.  I'd prepped some items - water-proofed my tent, broke the guidebook down to just the pages I needed, made sure my water bladder and Naglene bottle didn't taste like plastic.  Then I'd whittled the items down some, initially hoping to keep my base pack weight at 20 pounds or under... because that's what a respectable start weight should be, I'd read somewhere.  I had all the basics - tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, water bladder... all the way down to first aid, headlamp, and guidebook.  There was nearly nothing that I'd want to go without.  I packed everything into my pack, feeling pretty confident as I still had a fair amount of space left in my 65L backpack.  I filled my water bladder full - a 3 liter capacity.  I'd even put in my drybag of camera/electronic "necessities"  (camera equipment consisting of 1 camera body, my everyday 24-105mm lens, 2 batteries and charger).  I put on the pack... wandered about the house some, remarking how relatively light it felt...

Until I got it on the scale.  😟  It weighed in at just under 40 pounds.  40 pounds!!!  Yeah, I freaked a little. A lot.  How in the world was that right?  How were people getting a base weight of so little?

I went back and did some homework... and found that the breakdown is essentially 12 pounds and under = ultralight, 20 pounds and under = lightweight, and for a reasonable, non-lightweight pack... under 30 pounds.  This weight is BEFORE water and food are added.  I calculated the weight of the 3 liters of water at approx 6.6 pounds - and removed it, for now, as it doesn't count towards my base weight.  Then, I went back through my pack, getting rid of a few things that weren't necessary or had duplicates (ie: my first aid kit had duplicates of other things I'd already packed, I'd switched from bringing whole rolls of duct/gaff/leukotape to taking just a bit of each, etc.).  My pack weight was hovering just above 30 pounds... at which point Aaron reminded me that I had the camera gear (something I'm NOT willing to leave behind, BTW), which added almost 4 pounds.  If not for that, I'd be down around a 27 pound start weight.  I can live with that!  And, it feels nowhere near that weight (right now).

Also, for the vast majority of my route I'll have frequent access to potable water and won't need to carry the full 3 liters. It won't be until the very end that I'll need to carry that much water... and by then, I'd better be conditioned enough to handle the extra handful of pounds.

I have the pack worked out, the storage of my vehicle worked out, a place to stay the night before (with a real bed and shower and everything!), transportation to the start and back from my potential finish, all the routing worked out and in 2 different formats (digital & print), and various other odds and ends all wrapped up.  The Jeep has the memory foam mattress in it for camping on my drive out, tires rotated, fluids and other necessary items checked.  I created light-blocking privacy shades from black posterboard and gaff tape that fit in all the rear windows of my Jeep, so sleeping will be a bit easier on the drive out.

Initially I was going to leave this morning, but decided after being away for work last weekend... and Aaron was on a motorcycle trip last weekend... that I'd delay my departure until Monday morning and spend the time with him and my family this weekend.  I also decided that to make up the time, I'm going to stick to the interstate until western Nebraska.. and then hop off to explore from there and to the west.  One massively long day of driving on Monday - Google tells me over 10 hours worth between home and North Platte, NE.  Ought to be fun boring.  😐

On this particular journey, I will be conserving battery life on my phone as much as possible.  I do have an extra, auxiliary battery, but plan to use it sparingly.  That said, I DO plan to make trip updates as I progress... with a small spattering of cell phone photos.  However, it's doubtful that it will be daily.  I'm guessing a few times/week, at best (more so on my drive out than on the hike itself).  I have this blog set up to post to my various social media platforms automatically, so feel free to follow along wherever you are.  😊

The next post will likely be from the road!

The 1-person tent gets water-proofing.

Homemade privacy shades - photo taken in full daylight.