This is today's "You Can See Yourself In It" lesson. "You Can See Yourself In It" is my title for the life lessons offered by mountain hiking. I think I'm so in love with hiking and backpacking because.... I can see myself in it.
About an hour into my intended 3-day, 16-mile backpacking trip in the White Mountains a few weeks ago, I realized that not only was my backpack quite heavy, but I was carrying very nearly the same amount of extra body weight, effectively doubling my pack weight.
I got far more fatigued than I expected, got into a risky situation due to not being able to cover the distance, and had a few revelations.
I lost 5 pounds in those 2 days, a combination of mild dehydration and not eating enough (which added to my fatigue.) I refueled and rehydrated for a few days. Then I made a chart and started "lightening my pack" -- my body -- aiming for a pound a week, 25 pounds. (My pack weighed 30, which is probably what my AT thru-hike pack will weigh, including food and water.)
Rather than a specific food plan or eating schedule, when I eat or think about eating, I'm just asking myself the same question I ask when I select items for my backpack: Do I need or want this enough to justify the weight?
This mindset seems to be hitting the spot. Since July 8, I'm down 6 pounds. It hasn't gone evenly, exactly a pound a week (I plateaued for a couple weeks), but I'm more or less on schedule.
When I hit the trail 25 pounds lighter next spring, it will be like carrying just one backpack instead of two. Who wouldn't rather carry just one backpack?! Or a 30-pound pack instead of a 55-pound pack?
I'm on my way.