The Days Leading Up

Question. How many times should one pack and repack one’s backpack before an upcoming section hike on the Appalachian Trail?

Answer. What else am I supposed to do to pass the time?

Only A Few Days

My backpack is my home. In the sense that the contents can be expanded to provide a home. Shelter. Food. Water.

But no outhouse. Or running water. This isn’t the magical land of Harry Potter. Perhaps a better description would be my mobile home.

I love my backpack. I love carrying it. I love packing it. And yes, sometimes I just stare at it. Are there support groups available for this? Don’t answer that.

Recently I have been expanding my comfort zone as a hiker. I extended my season to the fall for the first time. During a hike just before Thanksgiving, which you can read about here, we woke up to 29 degrees on Saturday morning. I learned a few things from that experience.

Fast forward to now, January, and I am three days from departing for my first section hike on the AT during the winter months. As best I can judge from the current forecast, the second morning will bring a temperature of around 16 degrees F, give or take. Packing my backpack has taken on a new level of importance.

When I am within a fews days from departing for a hike, time seems to speed up. Just a little. My shifts at work become easier. No matter how challenging a day at work, on the near horizon I am to be rewarded with time spent reconnecting with nature.

Fortunately my job is, for the most part, something which has become second nature. Because at this moment, only three days away, my thoughts are dominated by the upcoming backpacking trip.

The camaraderie with friends at the hostel. How cold it will feel when we step out early Saturday. Do I have the proper layers and clothing to be comfortable at camp?

Can’t forget to pack coffee. And my new chocolate mint tea I got for Christmas. Maybe I should bring my ski pants instead of my new REI, thin, waterproof pants.

The forecast calls for snow Friday night. We might be stepping off into a layer of fresh snow the next morning. I bet the forest will be magical. I mean, it always is.

Can’t wait. Perhaps I will write about it next week.

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