Jul 14 2009

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Planning a Trip

Posted at 8:26 am under Blog Post

A month from now, I’ll be commencing a long walk through the Maine woods.  Since this particular trip poses several logistical difficulties, it’s not too soon to prepare.  The section of the Appalachian Trail that I intend to hike is called the 100-Mile Wilderness because one can’t resupply along the way.  That’s means I’ll have to carry everything, including all my food – a true challenge for a hiker who moves as slowly as I do.  To further complicate matters, I’ll be taking my dog, Matika, with me.

To a casual observer it would appear that I like to make things difficult for myself.  Truth is, I’m willing to go to great lengths to spend a big a chunk of time in deep woods.  As for taking Matika with me, well, I couldn’t deprive her of the experience.  She loves the wild as much as I do.  Besides, she’s the ideal hiking companion.  She doesn’t talk.

Dog food is bulky so I’ve introduced dehydrated food to Matika’s diet.  I thought she’d resist it but, to my great surprise, she gobbles it right down.  Altering my own diet won’t be so easy.  After working out some calorie-per-pound calculations, I have reached a conclusion that is sure to make the readers of my Long Trail book laugh:  I’ll have to carry a lot of nuts.  Back in ’95, I swore I’d never do this to myself again.  But nuts are the perfect solution to the logistical problem at hand.

Clothing isn’t as much a matter of weight as it is bulk.  The solution is simple.  It’s all about the ability to stay warm so cottons must be kept to a minimum.  Cotton is comfortable but useless when it’s wet, and this is a wet year.  Besides, it takes forever to dry out.

Cooking.  I’ll build campfires whenever I can, carrying as little stove fuel as possible.  But, like I said, this is a wet year.  Hope I don’t regret this decision.

Shelter: a tarp only.  To keep it from tearing apart in a storm, I’ll reinforce the grommets with duct tape.  This spark of genius came to me while I was driving home from work a few weeks ago.  What’s that?  You think I’m crazy?  Hey, don’t underestimate the power of duct tape.

Luxuries, only one: binoculars.  I expect to see some wildlife on this trip.  Okay, maybe two: a disposable camera.  No, my journal isn’t a luxury.  That’s how I stay sane, both in and out of the woods.

What else?  There are a thousand details.  A long walk in deep woods isn’t quite as simple as it sounds.  A first aid kit, an emergency blanket, a full set of maps, a backup compass, a solid-shank knife, water filter, and water purification tablets just in case.  Yeah, I can’t wait to get out there.  I like being completely self-sufficient.  It feels like… freedom.  There’s really no other word for it.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Planning a Trip”

  1. reneéon 15 Jul 2009 at 8:35 pm 1

    here’s to days on end without spoken word…
    peaceful travels to you and matika!

  2. Deedee Burnsideon 20 Jul 2009 at 8:58 pm 2

    Wish I could go too!!