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SeleneAnna - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2010

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City: Kansas City
State: KS
Country: United States
Begins: Mar 20, 2010
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Fri, Jan 8th, 2010

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,657
Journal Visits: 2,185
Guestbook Views: 74
Guestbook Entrys: 5

Gear list

Appalachian Trail Map

Pre-trip gear planning

I can easily see how it can be a slippery slope from attempting to be a lightweight backpacker (I could never do true ultralight) to being an overloaded pack mule with 70 pounds of super-ultra-feather-lightweight gear. LOL I have found that for every new and well researched item I purchase and check off my list, three more seem to pop up in its place. They all seem very practical at the time too! "Great! I have my fancy new wool balaclava to keep me warm....but I should get a down hat in case I don't want to have something covering my face while I hike....and I'll definitely need a rain hat which can double as a sun hat..." These are three very useful hiking items. But do I really need three hats in my pack? I have a steripen that I use for hiking here where we have mostly clear water, but I bought a filter for the trail since I'll be doing higher volumes than I use on day hikes. I don't really want to bring both. But then if you bring a filter you need to bring a "backup" like drops or tablets since a filter can break. So I'm just leaving out my steripen but adding a second new item to my pack. The examples go on and on!
With this epiphany in mind, I am really working over my pack as well as my mind. I've been trying to look at each item not only for its purpose and could something else double to cover that function, but also for my comfort level. Example: I am a cold hiker. I'm small and have little extra fat and I have poor circulation. So maybe while three hats seems a bit redundant and a lot of extra ounces, it just might be the difference in my being warm and able to keep hiking as opposed to cold-wet-frustrated and on a flight home.
I've hiked and camped enough in my life to know that lighter definitely makes for a better experience. Backpacking is not meant to bring the five-star luxuries to the trail. But at the same time, if you cut too much out it can make for many miles of "wish I had..." hiking. And if you're focused on that then you miss all the miles of beautiful serenity and natural wonder that you went out to see in the first place.
I'll keep working on this and post my thoughts. I'm excited to see how my life in a bag evolves over the course of the planing/leaving/hiking/finishing! I wonder how the role and need for each item I've so carefully sought out and purchased will actually play out when I reach the end of this journey.

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Journal Photo

Into The Woods


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