Sunday, July 19, 2009

the Wake Up Call (part 1)

the summer before I turned 40, I went on a hike in the Sawtooth Mountains with my son Daniel, who was 14 at the time. It was 10 miles from the trailhead at Stanley Lake to Alpine Lake, our destination. I was carrying a large external frame backpack loaded down with 50 pounds of gear. Over the course of two days I struggled up to the lake and then back down again. I couldn't believe how much I struggled with the hike. Had I gotten that old so soon? I felt crushed beneath the weight of the pack. I began to wonder if my time for backpacking was over. I can't carry a full backpack in comfort the distance that I need to go. Although we completed the hike, it was discouraging to me to struggle that much.

I am several years down the road from that experience, and now I have 800 + more miles and 70 percent of the Idaho Centennial Trail under my belt. How did I get from there-and-then to the here-and-now? I would like to describe the process by which I reduced my pack weight and increased my comfort level AND mileage. The process of becoming an *ultralight* hiker has made possible my quest to hike the Idaho Centennial Trail.

stay tuned....

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