Weighing in for the Trail


I’ve just returned from my first cruise, and while it was a lovely family excursion, I fear my waistband will never recover. With the hiking trip to Israel a mere two weeks away, I had planned to stick with salads and protein on the boat. What a ridiculously naïve notion. I didn’t last through the first meal before succumbing to the cornucopia of food, and the rest of the week was a buffet-shaped blur.

Having said that, I have streamlined my gear and I am weighing everything that I am taking with me (except my notably rounder self). My toothbrush is literally cut in half. In addition to that I am bringing

• one pot, a cup, lightweight poly utensils,
• a little stove, a first aid kit
• a whistle, a Swiss card (a cool credit sized card that you can build a house with)
• tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat
• 3 t-shirts, bra, underwear, a fleece
• one pair of long pants, one pair of shorts
• a pair of long johns, a merino base top layer
• 2 pair of wool socks, 2 liner socks, flip flops
• headlight, reading glasses, toilet paper
• water purification tablets, light weight rope
• a rain cover, hiking poles
• a lightweight down jacket, a fleece pillow case (to stuff at bedtime)
• three big Nalgene water bottles, a 2-litre platypus water carrier
• bug juice, sun protector, lip balm
• 3 handkerchiefs (one for sweat, one for nose, one for head),
• a tea towel, all-in-one wash
• a little bottle of olive oil (for food and skin)
• my phone and charger (for camera and emergencies)
• IPad for writing
• passport and guide book.

The list sounds extensive but the gear pile looked surprisingly small considering we will be self-sustaining for over two months while hiking in various conditions and terrains. And yet when it was all loaded into the pack it felt heavy enough. I am also bringing packets of oatmeal, powdered eggs, cliff bars, my favorite licorice spice tea, and mountain house meals for the first several days in the desert where food and water sources are rare.

Maybe carrying some extra body weight at the beginning of this trip isn’t a terrible thing. And maybe after walking 1000 kilometers I will return wiry and tough but right now my reserves are uncomfortably straining the seams of my hiking pants. And when I am hauling my reserves across the desert gnawing on stale bread and dry oatmeal, thoughts of  eggs benedict, bacon and midnight buffets on the cruise will be the stuff of dreams.


4 responses »

  1. No worries just a little padding for the hard ground at night…:-) You will do amazing. Your resilience and sense of adventure will carry you through all the highs and lows to come. I will be with you in spirit and look forward to the many interesting blogs to come.
    “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore” Andre Gide

    Safe travel Arlene…hugs!!!

    • Thanks Nancy. I think padding will be no problem :). And i hope I am good for the long haul. Because no question about it – I will be hell and gone from the shore. As always your unfailing support means the absolute world to me. And I have to say, knowing that people enjoy the blogs makes the time and energy of writing them so worth it. lots of hugs, xo

  2. Hi Arlene. So interesting to hear about your plans to hike the INT. You inspire me to grab my backpack and head for the mountains again. Must get one of those Swiss cards – my army knife must weight 2 pounds ;-). Coincidentally, I am reading an intriguing novel where the 2 main characters are working through their issues and pasts as they walk the INT. There are some beautiful descriptions of the trail as they hike along. They don’t mention the INT specifically but their journey sounded like your trail description and then they mentioned the orange-blue-white trail markers and I knew! This book is called “To The End of The Land” by David Grossman. Bon voyage and have an awesome journey. Hugs, Linda M.

    • Hi Linda, So nice to hear from you! As one mountain enthusiast to another I am glad you will be enjoy the trek through the blog. Makes the time and energy of writing it feel worthwhile.
      I am thrilled to hear about the book that you are reading. I will look it up because, as you can imagine, we are looking at any and all INT trail experiences we can find. Also you can get the Swiss card at Lee Valley. It is a very handy little gadget and I was pretty excited to find it. Lots of hugs Linda. If you want to hear more about it when I get back feel free to give me a call and we could get together for tea.

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