With the arrival of 2010, my book project scooted from being an event I referred to as occurring ‘next year’ to one happening THIS YEAR! I’m only 3 months out.
I’ve been reading, preparing, researching, fretting, and doing everything possible to ensure my trek isn’t one I look back on as being ‘the one that broke me.’ It’s hard not to be a little overwhelmed. This will either be the greatest thing I’ve done to date, or a nightmare that lasts 65 solid days.
It will be awesome.
If you’re like me, it takes time to plan a trip, any trip … even one lasting only a weekend.
A 65-day expedition where ‘luggage’ is a backpack that carries not only your clothing, but also food, camera equipment, toiletries, bed, and home.
I say this is a task worth stressing … so, that’s exactly what I’ve done! I’ve spent the past months pushing pins in maps, making lists, drawing up projected routes, lifting various pieces of gear, squinting, looking at them inquisitively to ‘see if it’s light and will fit in my bag. I don’t actually put it in my bag so this does me NO good …but it makes me feel better … so I continue.
After I feel good about my ‘plan’ I discover new information which causes panic and the realization that my ‘plan’ is not feasible. Back to the drawing board.
The lists I create are almost comical. Placing things in lists ‘Essential’ vs. ‘Not Essential.’
Do I really need more than one pair of underwear? Logic states yes … but camera batteries are more important right? I say yes. If my pack weight soars … what goes first? While I say I need two pair of shoes … if I get grumpy … how quickly will I convince myself to leave the heavy pair in a trash bin? Is staying dry a luxury I can do without, so my raingear gets left in a campground? How much can I fit in my backpack? That answer is, more than you think … if you get creative, smash things in, and use a lot of ties and clips on the outside.
While my route is still in limbo … and I’m not exactly sure where I’ll be sleeping most nights … I do know what will be in my backpack. For your entertainment … here’s my list.
- Camera gear (body, 2 lenses, 10 batteries, filters, tripod, cables, data storage device, charger, and adaptor (Nearly 15 lbs of stuff)
- 2 short sleeve shirts
- 2 long sleeve shirts
- 2 pairs of pant/shorts (The legs zip off, which creates 4 pairs of lower garments)
- 1 thermal-esque base layer for warmth
- 1 water/wind PROOF (forget ‘resistant’ … dry is important) outer layer
- 1 pair of waders (ultra lightweight for crossing rivers, and photographing in water)
- 4 pairs of GOOD socks, yes I have more socks than any other piece of clothing … and if you’ve ever had cold, wet feet you understand. Yay, wigwams!
- 3 pair of underwear (which will be replaced on an as-needed basis)
- 1 stove
- 1 set of utensils
- 2 water bottles and purifier
- Food for first 7 days hiking (I have a plan for the rest of the days)
- Bug net for my face, I’m told I need it
- 2 pairs of shoes (one specifically for water)
- Sleeping bag and pad
- Sleeping bag liner (for cold nights)
- Notebooks and pen
- Sundries bag. This bag will include, TP, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, superglue (to seal up wounds) chapstick, moleskin, etc)
- Maps (I know I’m going to forget them because they are so vital … I ALWAYS do … but I’m telling myself I won’t)
This is a lot of “stuff” … but I’m going to figure it out step by step … and it will fit. It will! The pack will weigh close to 50 lbs … and I’m extremely confident that numerous times during that first week of hiking I will hate my pack, and everything inside it … I’m also predicting large periods of discomfort associated with this bag.
Hey, maybe I should pack a box of tissues to use when I start to cry …
For more information on Brian Rueb and how you can be a part of Project Iceland, visit his website, http://brianruebphotography.com.
Or you can follow him on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Redding-CA/Brian-Rueb-Photography/121928334886?ref=ts
Brian Rueb is a north state writer, photographer and educator. A large selection of his images is hanging in the HDR imaging gallery at 2531 Victor Ave (corner of Victor and Cypress)