Tuesday, June 28, 2016

CT Gear Post #3 ~ Luxuries

First, I finished the last two of five sleeping bags!!!

Almost down to the wire, but they're done!

Second, I was going to do a comprehensive gear post, with weights and details for everything, but I ran out of time and energy after two days of sorting couscous and oatmeal and granola bars into baggies and boxes. So instead I'll just tell you about the fun stuff. (If you want to hear more about gear, you can read about our tent 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!


  1. One of my favs and good for just about any moment when you doubt yourself or the situation you are in....."Change your thoughts and you change your world." Norman Vincent Peale

    Wishing you all the best on this journey. Have the best time. xo

    1. Thanks, Kim! That's a good reminder to think positive!

  2. Your preparation sounds like it has been well thought out. I love the selection of luxuries you have chosen I hope they support you on your long journey.

    My favourite quote? The challenge is to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else - I don't know who said it tho'!

    I don't expect you to send me a postcard as you would need extra stamps to send to the UK which would add to your weight!

    1. Thanks, sustainablemum! That's a good quote. And I'm happy to spring for the dollar postage if you'd like a postcard. So please do send me your address!

  3. This one seems particularly appropriate: “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

  4. "But there is another kind of seeing that involves a letting go. When I see this way I sway transfixed and emptied. The difference between the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera. When I walk with a camera, I walk from shot to shot, reading the light on a calibrated meter. When I walk without a camera, my own shutter opens, and the moment's light prints on my own silver gut. When I see this second way I am above all an unscrupulous observer." -Annie Dillard

    (Posted by Heidi Fettig Parton)

    1. Thanks, Heidi! This is great. I love Annie Dillard. Please do send me your address with the contact form so I can send you a postcard.

  5. A quote from a Words of Wisdom book I have, just in case you encounter a small rough patch.."Don't let what happened yesterday inhibit what is happening today or tomorrow." Have a safe and amazing journey, Tracy

    1. Thanks, Tracy! This is a good one, especially for getting along with co-travelers. Haha.

  6. For the twins...

    Still round the corner there may wait
    A new road or a secret gate
    And though I oft have passed them by
    A day will come at last when I
    Shall take the hidden paths that run
    West of the Moon, East of the Sun. ~Tolkien

    I can't wait to read about your adventures!!! <3 Linda


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