Fussing Over Packing

Eventually, in the cycle of unpacking and repacking, one resigns oneself to the fact that you forgot something and will just have to buy it at your destination.

My first packing effort was Sunday.  Molly and Sam came out to my folk’s house and we spent two hours with our stuff in piles on the lawn, going over what we were bringing and what the state of our shared equipment was.

We opened each of the gallon ziplock bags of food I had prepared for the trip. Each day has two – one for breakfast, snacks, and lunch for everyone and one less full one for dinners. Turns out three people’s worth of food for a whole day does not easily fit into a single gallon bag. Each bag is labeled by its day (Day One, Day Two, etc) and some thought went into what days need more carb loading and calories. Technically all of them, of course, but it means things like a side of instant mashed potatoes on the night before our final slog up Mt. Whitney.

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I made all of our dinners using the recipes from this blog but in retrospect, just buying the freeze dried meals would have been worth the extra dollar or two I saved us. Way less stress and finagling. You should have seen the assembly line spread out on the dining room table. A row of freezer ziplocks, pre-labeled with directions – time needed, amount of water, etc. Four scoops of freeze dried vegetables. Four scoops of instant rice. Four of each of the spices required. Etc. Four, not three, because Sam eats most of his food at dinner and gets a double serving. Molly and I both tend to eat more in the snack department throughout the day. And all the bags have freeze dried chicken that we need to add Sunday night before our bus ride down to Sequoia. (The freeze dried chicken from our post-apocalypse sized canister only keeps about a week after opening it.)

I worried about not having enough food. Or more specifically, enough calories, to feed three people for six days. I worried bout having too much – too much weight to carry. At some point you just need to hope you struck a balance somewhere.

After we squeezed as much into the bear canister as possible (there are bear boxes for the first part of our trail, but we need a canister for the last night), which went into Sam’s pack for now, Molly and I divided up the rest into our packs. Food, even food chosen for being light yet sense in calories, adds up in weight.

My pack is the heaviest, at about 36-38 lbs before water. This was frustrating to learn as, aside from the food, I wasn’t carrying much in the way of shared gear, and I am not carrying more than Molly in the way of clothes/gear. I do have my camera and my kindle – but it was inferred that I would be much more pleasant to deal with if I get my reading in and the camera is the group’s “nice one” for this trip. We figured that my pack itself – an old 70L REI Venus – was likely the culprit (Sam’s is actually 75L, but he also considers things like underwear a luxury item, and Molly’s is 55L).

So. Nearly 40lb pack it is. Still less than 25% of my body weight, but heavier than I would prefer.

Currently said pack is in a large duffel bag with my once-black-now-permanently-muddy hiking boots in the luggage room of the plane I am sitting in. Theoretically, anyway.

After our two hours of packing, Molly’s parents came over for a BBQ, followed shortly by my boyfriend, Brady. My parents were totally awesome aout the whole “Hey, parents, it’d be great to have a BBQ this day after our packing. Oh, and I’m going to be completely absent from the hosting process as I run around like a crazy person tying up the loose ends of my life.”

So many loose ends. Posts to edit for The Migrationist. A post on Angel Island (which I am visiting Saturday) to do background research and preliminary writing for. Meetings on ImmPro. Packing. Helping my boyfriend get settled into his new place. Making sure I wasn’t forgetting anything in the pre-lawschool department. Finishing up projects at work.

Yesterday was my last day of full time employment for the next three years.

There’s a head spinner for a nearly thirty year old with aspirations of a more robust retirement fund. Eventually.

Speaking of money. I suspect I will stay within budget for this trip, but it’s the pre-trip expenses I always under prepare for. Or over spend on things that are nice but I don’t actually need. A new sleeping pad because the one I thought I’d borrow was miserable to sleep on and the one I owned already is geared towards car camping. A new belt because my pack tugs on my trousers and I’ll be pulling them up the whole trail without them. A new camera because my old one was bulky, heavy, and dated back to about 2007 – ancient in the digital camera world. (I got a little Sony mirrorless that is about the size of a phone with an interchangeable lens on it.) The bluetooth keyboard that pairs with my phone that I’m writing this post on (no, that is not coming on the trail with me) and will save me from having to hunt down internet cafes.

So here I am, on a flight to SFO. Somewhere just before the Rockies I think, based on the scene out my window. Molly is here somewhere, another sardine in this flying sardine can.

I’m four hours in, two hours to landing, then a two hour car ride up Route One to Port Reyes, our destination for today.

I suspect that this is going to feel like a very long day.

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