Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Pre-hike entry #4

One month from now, I’ll be driving down to Virginia with either my fiancée Heather or her brother John. We’ll be picking up my brother David in Charlottesville, spending the night at our friend Claude’s place in South Carolina and hitting the trail on March 13th. One month. I can’t wait!

I’ve been customizing my pack a bit, adding some pockets to the inside to keep the little handy items like snacks & toilet paper accessible. After carrying my Mountainsmith Frostfire pack for 7 years, I traded it for a Ghost pack last year. The Ghost is ½ the size, 1/3 the weight and has forced me to really lighten up my load. So I’m sewing pockets and thinking about the last time I used a sewing machine. 7th grade home economics. I don’t remember the assignment, but I know I used my mind-boggling imagination to come up with my project – a pair of scissors! Think of all the cute, cuddly things that I could have sewed! Then think about having a pair of stuffed scissors as a nighttime companion! At least I can prove that I wasn’t normal back then either…

The last items on my gear list have been arriving. I’ve decided to pack Montane Featherlite pants and ditch my waterproof pants. I just can’t imagine that I’ll need waterproof pants in the southern spring, given that I’ve winter camped in the White Mountains and never needed them up there! Long johns, hiking pants and wind pants will be enough lower body protection for me – my key is just keeping my core warm. And ditching the 10oz pants for 4oz wind pants is a nice trade. Yeah, I’ve become a weight-freak. Not that my 17 pound winter pack base weight (no food or water) is all THAT light, but I was carrying 35 lbs just two years ago. What’s 6 oz of weight on a 2175 mile AT thruhike? It’s the equivalent of picking up my Honda Accord and carrying it for a quarter of a mile. I sure do like these wind pants!

My camera came in as well and I love it! The 4 megapixel resolution means I can blow up pictures to 8×11 for printing and the 35-105 zoom is pretty handy. The best part about the camera is its macro functioning – I can shoot from 2 inches away with the S400! So much of the beauty of the woods is in the details – and now I can capture the details! David, Heather and I were hiking in Shenandoah last year when a butterfly landed on his glasses and pissed on him. My other camera couldn’t do the scene justice, but this one will be able to! That’d be quite the trailname for my brother, hmmm?

Trailnames – for those of you who haven’t been informed (or haven’t had to listen to me talk for the last few years) – are given to or selected by hikers for use on the AT. I don’t have mine yet. I’ll let my friends on the trail find a fitting one for me. I have a feeling I may regret this decision later!