Friday, March 27, 2009


Photo by Peter Krogh for Avanti Press, Inc. Gratefully used by permission. I bought this card about a year ago, when just starting to plan my Appalachian Trail hike. I just phoned Mr. Krogh asking if I might use it for this blog post, and he agreed. So I thank him very much!

I've gone through my backpack yet again, with my list, and I think I've got everything. Most of the mess is finally gone from the sofa, table, and bedroom floor. I had to accomplish this before I could start getting the camper ready to go on the road tomorrow.

For those who may not know, we live in an RV, have for the last 5 years, sold our house to our son, waved goodbye and hit the road.

So I'm used to living in a 300sq. ft. space, but I'm NOT used to living out of a 3800cu. in. backpack! This has been far more complex than packing my transition and special-needs bags for the Ironman.It's amazing what I've decided I don't need. And there are those who are amazed at what I've decided I DO need.

Three sets of clothes:
  • Basic hiking outfit: running skirt w/ the undershorts cut out (I didn't like them, they rode up my thighs), bright yellow longsleeved tech shirt from Gasparilla Marathon 2005; microfiber underwear (black to match the skirt), SmartWool socks. The skirt, ass opposed to shorts, makes it easier to add and subtract the following:
  • Slightly warmer layer: microfiber stirrup tights; short-sleeved blue tech shirt from Vermont City Marathon 2007. (I think it will be more versatile to layer short tee over the long one, whose sleeves I can push up to make it short.)
  • Warm layer: Midweight running tights, fleeze half-zip ls top.

Rain jacket and rain pants over some or all of this if needed. Two additional pairs of socks. Knit hat, knit gloves, the 2pr/$1.49 in Wal-Mart kind.

And that's it. No clean changes of anything but sox, which get changed every couple hours in rotation with others that have been airing out pinned to the backpack. You wash your underwear and dry it overnight. You wear your rain clothes in the laundromat while your travel clothes are in the washer.

I do have sleep clothes: cotton yoga pants (not good for hiking, cotton is cold and heavy if it gets wet) and a ls silk shirt from the Salvation Army. You're not supposed to wear your grungy hiking clothes for sleep because they yuck up your sleeping bag.

My full backpack without food or water weighs in at 22.5 pounds. Four days' worth of food, with one extra supper in case of a delay, plus a quart of water, bring it to 30 pounds. Some think this is too heavy. Others are astonished it's that light.

The weight will start decreasing within hours as the food and water get used up. Water -- I probably won't need a quart at a time while hiking; creeks are plentiful on the southern AT, and running full this time of year.

Here's how I really look!

I'll be posting a complete list of what's in the pack. Right now, though, I gotta get back to getting this camper ready to make the trip from New Orleans to Dawsonville, GA.

Five more days!!!!


bunnygirl said...

You're looking strong and happy!

Steve said...

Looks like you are ready to go!!!!
30 pounds is a great place to be. Any lighter and you are taking chance on not being prepared and more is a lot of work.
One more time, Good Luck, Enjoy the journey!!!!


Downhillnut said...

The pic at the top is a hoot! Seriously, ditch the tv and watch Youtube on the laptop...

You are going to have such a wonderful adventure! I'm going to miss you while you're gone, but I'll be sending you good vibes.

Nancy Toby said...

I promise I won't say anything about the Ronald McDonald color scheme. :-)

Have a blast every step of the way!

Jade Lady said...

Hey Ellie - I'm so excited for you! Sorry, it's been so long since I last posted a comment. But, I wanted to make sure I wish you luck before you go on your dream journey - BEST OF LUCK!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The comment I left last night appears not to have been left.

The pack looks great on you. Or you look great with that pack. :-) As you say, the weight will diminish with each bite you take.

ShirleyPerly said...

You look awesome, Ellie! I'm behind on my blog reading but, of course, know all about your upcoming journey :-) I'm glad your pack weighs only 30#. Though that's not much compared to what other backpacks may way, I know how small you are and how heavy it can get over time.


Sparkles said...

You DO look awesome, Ellie! The first pic (with the tv) made me laugh out-loud!
Travel safely .... !!