I had all the wrong gear on the Camino and I didn’t realize it until a few months ago. I met many people and had many conversations about gear but to me, it really didn’t matter. Everything I needed was on my back, and even stuff I didn’t need. Heading north from Madrid with a pack that was too big for me at 27.5lbs (12.5 kilos). I had a ridiculous amount of stuff, I finally will admit. At the time I had a really nice journal I wanted to take. I didn’t care that it weighed 12.5oz (354g). In fact I didn’t even know how much it weighed till just now! I borrowed a synthetic sleeping bag from a friend that was rated to freezing temps and was too heavy for what the hike was. I brought four shirts when I really only needed two. I carried 4 liters of water but the truth was that was probably double the amount I needed! I also was quite oblivious to being potentially the only peligrino with cotton underwear. I can’t remember everything else I had but after doing research now that I should have done then… I’ll just say, I had a pretty impressively heavy camino!
And even though I look back and laugh at myself for the ridiculousness I carry, I still smile because of what I was able to accomplish. I learned a lot about myself – that no weight on my back would slow me down, no blister or pain in my body would stop me, and that when faced with anything that life should throw at me, I have the ability to stand strong.
With all that being said, I am grateful now that I have done research, because the trips I am doing this summer would not be possible with my camino packing mentality! I’m literally counting ounces and while I still have a few luxury items I think are necessary, I’ve got a pack weighing the same as I did on the camino – including a tent, stove, and food for 6-8 days.
This weekend I will attempt a 2 week thru hike on the Ouachita Trail. I say attempt because I’m aware of the weather they’ve been having in Oklahoma and Arkansas and it’s possible there will be some rivers and streams that are impassible. But I’m going to attempt it and see how it goes. It’s a good thing I don’t mind the rain. This trip is really a practice run for the Colorado Trail which will be a little over twice the distance and I plan to start that one on my birthday in June.
When I get the final touches put on my pack, I might do a blog about what I’m taking if that is of interest to anyone. I’m no expert here – just a girl crazy about the outdoors and doing what I need to get there.
**And a note to those who have been following me the past few years – you may have noticed that I didn’t start this post with a picture of Cuddles. Sadly, she passed away last August but she lived a long life, filling me with happiness for 16 years.