Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ultra-light backpacking

For the longest time I have been wanting to do a backpacking trip. I have been a fan of camping all of my life, but I have never hiked a trail for days on end. Throughout 2008 Andrew and I have hiked around the trails in the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge. We had thrown around the idea of an extended hiking trip for some time.

After watching The Into the Wild on Sunday night with Kim, I decided I had to finally do it. I talked to Andrew and we have decided to take a week off and hike a section of the Florida Trail. We are going to do this with a technique known as Ultra-Light Backpacking, which is exactly as it sounds. We will carry only the bare minimum supplies. Most ULBs I've read about try to keep their luggage at below ten pounds.

I've been preparing for my trip by spending my lunch break walking. I'm getting about two miles in each day, which is good because backpackers usually travel around two miles per hour. Walking also makes me feel pretty good about life in general. Southwood has a very nice nature walk. To build the neighborhood they practically leveled the whole plantation, but left a mile long stretch in tacts for a paved trail. You can view a rough outline of what my walk looks like on Google Maps.

We don't have a week set in stone. We are shooting for April, but that's not very convenient for Kim. She says Spring Break or after school is out is best for her, but Spring Break is too soon and I am concerned it may be much warmer by the time school ends. We'll have to see.

I will be looking for tips on what to bring on the trip. I've already got a very light sleeping bag. We will carry lots of grit and oatmeal packets and cereal bars. I have a feeling that all that walking will make me quite hungry, and that may be the real problem when it comes to keeping things light.

I'll post back when more has been sorted out.