Logistics of Getting There…
With just over two weeks to go before we leave for our summer adventure to walk the entire length of the Erie Canal, from Albany to Buffalo, we have to get serious about getting ready. We’ve made lists of gear, clothing, and ‘other.’ We’ve decided to ship a box of gear to the hotel that we’ll be staying at in Boston for two nights. We’re doing this for a couple reasons.
First, we’d like to ‘carry on’ our 60L backpacks on the plane. We’ve gone and back and forth trying to decide whether or not to purchase backpack covers, which are basically like a duffel bag. They protect backpack buckles and straps from getting caught in airport conveyor belts, which can cause serious damage to your pack. They cost about $39.00 each at REI and weigh about a pound. It’s the added weight we don’t want. If we send the rigid gear (pan, cups, pocket-rocket stove) ahead, we should be able to compress our clothes, sleeping bag, and tent to a carry on size. Another reason to send a box of gear ahead is our walking poles. They can’t be carried on the plane for obvious reasons. So, we’ll ship them ahead too. Walking, or trekking, poles are reported to reduce about 25% of compressive force from knees and feet by transferring weight to your arms. They also improve balance, can be protection against a dog or other animal, and help you break through an overgrown trail. Aaron usually carries one pole in its collapsed position (we have the telescoping kind) and uses it to swing at bugs. He swears by this method of bug bite prevention. I also appreciate the workout my arms get while walking with poles.
While we are planning to resupply food along the trail, we will send ahead a couple food items we don’t want to leave to chance. The first is coffee. Being from the Pacific Northwest, we like our coffee the way we like it and even though its embarrassing to admit, my morning coffee experience (yes, coffee is an experience here in the Northwest!) influences, at least in part, how my day will go. There, I’ve admitted it! I also love crawling out of my tent in the early morning chill and sipping a cup of hot coffee as I watch the day begin. It’s a simple delight and not one that everyone would appreciate, but I do. So, in order to make our coffee experience on the trail the best it could be, we searched for the best instant coffee and found it at Trader Joe’s. It comes “all dressed up with creamer and sugar” and does the trick for us. The other food item we’ll send ahead are called Protein Pucks. We sent these ahead when we hiked the Oregon section of the PCT last summer. They are made in Spokane, Washington and are a nutrient dense puck-shaped bar. They are so nutrient and calorie dense in fact, that one bar is considered two servings with 240 calories per serving. This makes them the perfect snack for hiking; not too much food but good calorie count. They are also one of the best tasting bars we’ve tried and I can pronounce all the listed ingredients, such as sunflower butter, agave, dates, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. We found them at our local Cash and Carry.
Clothing and Shoes…
Our clothing will be fairly simple and straightforward. Lightweight and zap dry pants, shorts (skort for me), and shirts. Raingear, warm jackets, and sunhats, of course. Our shoes will the tried and true Altra Olympus. We wore these on the PCT last summer, hiking up and around every mountain in the Oregon Cascades for 450 miles. Our feet were as happy as they could be putting in 15 – 20 miles per day over rugged terrain. We love the extra padding in the sole, the zero rise in the heel, and the extra large toe box. Check them out at http://www.altrarunning.com
When planning this adventure, we decided to take the train home and believed we could buy tickets once we arrived in Buffalo, New York. Luckily, we decided to check out Amtrak and saw that there were only one or two sleeping units still available on trains going west in early August, when we would be needing to get home to Bellingham. So, we booked the last sleeping unit on a train leaving Buffalo on August 4, getting us to Seattle on August 8. Whew! I’m glad we did a little more investigating. Now we just have to be sure to get to Buffalo by August 4th. That gives us about 30 days to do the entire walk, which should be just fine.
Thanks for following! More to come!