I won’t give you all the bloody details (you see, it’s already sticking) but let’s just say there has been a lot of debate about what to take.
Some of the decisions were made back home. Two pairs of pants, one tee shirt, no down vest, etc. No camera except the iPhone’s. But 4.5 pounds of electronics. A Jetboil stove. Etc.
But it adds up.
Last night it looked like this:
But that didn’t even include the food:
(This is a delivery to the hotel in Glasgow. The proprietor, or I took him as that, through a window saw me taking the picture and asked what I was doing. I explained the joke. He thought I was from the health department.)
When I hefted it to go upstairs from my basement room this morning it seemed awfully heavy. So I took out the binoculars, a symbolic offering to the gods of self-denial. It seemed a bit lighter.
On the train station there were herds of gray-haired men and women with packs two-thirds my size.
On the train I sat next to a woman named Emma who was doing her fourth crossing. Her “rucksack” was about 30 pounds. Mine was that heavy in February. A few hours into the five-hour trip I heard a man a couple seats ahead say his rucksack was “8.8 kilos.” That’s less than 20 pounds.
I felt like saying, “Yeah, buddy, and I’m from America and mine’s 40 pounds. And we don’t need no six weeks off in the summer either.”
It’s clear there’s some serious competitive minimalism going on here.
Is this one of the moral challenges?
Suffice it to say, when I got to Mallaig and picked up my actual food (four day’s worth, freeze-dried, sent from the supplier in London to the B&B) I shed the ceramic water filter (Emma said the water off the hills is good enough to drink), the sunglasses (there won’t be enough sun), and a few other items, one of which is a AAA battery. I’m mailing them to the terminus tomorrow morning before I leave.
It’s still heavy, but probably not 40 pounds. I’ll carry it with pride and shame. As Marley said, “We drag the chains we forged in life.”