Almost down to the wire, but they're done!
here, our sleeping bags here and here, my clothes here, and the boys' clothes here.)
In the lightweight backpacking world, anything that is non-essential (as in, not your pack, your shelter, your sleep system, or pretty much the clothes on your back) is considered a luxury. And you're only supposed to take one luxury.
I knew from the get-go I wasn't going to be able to limit myself to just one fun thing, and I spent a lot of time pondering how to minimize my many luxuries. I bought a new camera, much smaller than my DSLR, but with a lot of features and a large light sensor. I initially thought I wouldn't take my phone, but decided I should for safety, communication with my family, who we will meet along the trail on occasion, and checking up on business (i.e., finding out if any of my pending submissions have been selected). I also downloaded some books I want to read to the kids onto it--Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island, Kidnapped to double its value. As a naturalist, I feel naked without a field guide or two in my back pocket, so I picked up a set of folding, laminated Pocket Naturalist guides, and limited myself to birds and flowers.
For my journal (which really is essential, since I'm writing a book), I settled on a series of thin, mid-sized Moleskine notebooks , a new one sent to me each week, and a set of mini colored pencils in a limited but pleasing palette. A little while ago, I started a daily habit of reading a poem each morning. I fell out of the habit recently, but decided I want to get back on track during this trip, so I picked up a book of Mary Oliver poems, and then I did something I've never done to a book before--I defaced it, cutting out the pages and divvying them among my resupply boxes. The pages are tucked in the back pocket of my journal, along with a July star chart and a book of postcard stamps. I also put my yoga routine, addresses of friends, and other things I want to keep track of in the back pages of my first journal, which are perforated and can migrate to my next journal.
Inside the front cover of the first journal, I wrote a quote from A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Bird and a card a good friend of ours gave me, with an inspiring quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and a four-leaf clover. On page one I stuck a comic my mom sent.
I thought it would be fun to add more inspiring quotes to this and subsequent journals, so please leave in the comments your favorite quote about nature, wilderness, travel, walking, or anything else you think would be fun for me to read on this epic journey. The first six people who leave a quote in the comments, I will send a postcard from the trail (please message me using the email form on the right of the page with your mailing address). Thanks!