Posted by: twistsoffeet | March 24, 2012

I used to be a minimalist


As I prepare for my next adventure where I intend to hike the entire Colorado trail and immediately walk down to New Mexico’s border with Colorado to hike at least the Colorado segment of the Continental Divide trail, I have been wondering how I ever did it before. What I mean is that I used to be a minimalist. I began backpacking with my older brothers scout troop when I was only about 8 years old. I had an old boy scout rucksack with no frame that I eventually added a homemade frame to, my sleeping bag was an army surplus mummy bag, tennis shoes I think and no stove or G P S. I probably had a light jacket, a boy scout mess kit, a compass and an Army surplus canteen.
Now after another 40 + years having passed I recently purchased a pair of Zamberlan 760 steep GT boots, I paid more for them than I would have ever dreamed about spending but they are without a doubt, even straight out of the box the comfortable boots or shoes I have ever worn. I have decided that I am older now, my body doesn’t recover or last as long as it used to (although I think I have after my last summers adventure proven to myself I can do it). I have decided where possible my equipment needs to be of a quality that will assist me on this journey. I have been reading blogs and articles by persons who have also hiked these trails. Some of them are hardcore minimalists others have done these trails possibly over several years with new equipment every year and possibly 10-15 supply cache’s. I am going to do this somewhere in the middle.
My tent will be a R.E.I. Passage 1 person tent, A Marmot Sawtooth Down 0 degree sleeping bag, MSR Whisperlite Universal Stove, I will be carrying a Osprey Aether 85 pack,  only 1-2qt stainless steel pot, a Black Diamond Icon headlamp. I will take 1 pr of Mountain Hardware Canyon shorts, 1 pr Columbia Silver Ridge II convertable pants, 1 pr Helly Hanson Voss rain pants, 1 Marmot Oracle rain jacket, Outdoor research Rocky Mountain High gators. I will have medical supplies, a compass a couple of t shirts and a fleece jacket, a insulated beanie, lot’s of fuel, protein powder, waxy maize carbohydrate, pasta, lentils (all organic). I will take foods that I have or will dehydrate myself, simple seasonings and my salt. I am certain everyone is shaking their heads wondering about my salt. I have recently been turned onto the amazing differences that a good salt can make. I mean I will sweat a lot and need to replace my electrolytes and since I have a substantial collection of gourmet salt that is lower in sodium and higher in other electrolytes than table salt. Simple salts that make an amazing difference in how enjoyable meal is. I am not concerned about the minimal weight from these salts it is worth it.
All of my gear and food will amount too about 40 lbs total weight. I have debated with myself round and round about taking my camera but what it comes down too is that I will kick myself for the rest of my life if I don’t take it. I am going to take my laptop also. I know everybody has too be shaking their head at my apparent slip into utter insanity, but I can’t do this blog on my smart phone (OK I could but it would be extremely difficult) and I feel as though I have to continue telling this story. So I will shoulder the burden, literally, and take it with me. My posts will be irregular depending upon signal availability and battery storage capacity. My total weight is expected to be around 52 lbs. which I consider an obscene amount of weight to carry on my back through the Rocky Mountains. On the good side every day my load will get lighter by consuming my food stores.
As a former minimalist I carried Army surplus halazone water purification tablets but rarely if ever used them. I am, on this trip, because I have suffered from the effects of giardia and amoebic dysentery and never want too feel like that again so I will be taking a Steri Pen classic water purifier with pre filter.
Hopefully my equipment will be good enough to minimize the effects of carrying a fairly heavy load all while falling prey to my need for being able to document this journey both with my photographs and written word.

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