After finishing all the planning this morning, I am en route to Grand Tower, IL, the western terminus of the River to River Trail. The start of this hike crept up on me, and I've been all over town finishing errands and getting things in order for the weeks ahead. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease I had putting it all together despite the 9 months I've had since my last backpacking trip.
I used a 3-lb postal scale to weigh all of my gear and repackage my meals as well. Gotta love the chaos of getting it all together!
I must thank Andrew Skurka for his meal plans blog and Great Western Loop and Alaska/Yukon gear lists and Justin Lichter (AKA Trauma) for his PCT Winter gear list. My own completed gear list and meal plan for the River to River Trail yo-yo follows with a short description of each process.
I thankfully had most gear that I needed for the trip and spent maybe $200 on anything I needed.
Some items are indeed heavy, but I have justification for bringing these particular items:
— 3 mil heay duty plastic ground cloth — Looking for long-term durability and reliability in all weather conditions.
— Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket — defintely a heavy piece of gear, but its what I have, and I figure I'm still getting my moneys worth out of it since I bought it in 2012.
— Marmot Cloudbreak 30 — Again it is what I have, and I'm sticking with it instead of spending the money for a new one. I am instead saving up for a new sleeping bag for the Ice Age Trail Winter Thru-hike.
Andrew Skurka has been a great help in this trip in respect to ultralight meals. I took all of my meal planning directly from his blog.
Interning at Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides prepared me to do all the shopping I needed without much trouble. But I still think grocery store have too many options nowadays. It's tough to get what I need in a timely fashion with the overload of brands and products and prices to decipher.
Off I go! 2 weeks of adventure lie ahead. I'll let you know how it goes. In the mean time, Happy Trails!