As in Appalachian Apartment Aftermath.
Upon returning from any outdoor excursion, it's not simply a matter of unpacking and storing stuff away. Depending on the situation, it could be as simple as that, however, there is usually a certain level of cleaning and restoration involved. I've still got my fair share of Burning Man accoutrement and "playa dust" that needs to be sorted out and dealt with.
The constraints of living in an apartment can certainly complicate matters.
Something as simple as cleaning and airing out a small one person tent becomes an ordeal.
Couldn't decide which was more fitting; that said, another aspect of unpacking is looking at what actually was used and what got lugged around and never saw the light of day.
When one is carrying everything on their back for hours upon hours, up and down mountains, this retrospective can be invaluable.
Take this line up of shoes for instance.
The Merrels, the minimalist running shoe on my left foot, have been with me for years now. I tried to buy the same shoe because I love them so much but they discontinued it. They've made it through 3 tours at Burning Man as well as many runs on and off the pavement. But how they'd manage trails full of rocks and roots while I was loaded up with 40 or 50 pounds of gear. That I wasn't so sure of.
Conventional wisdom would say my tried and true boots would be the smartest call.
Except I really like not having much separating me and the earth I'm treading upon. I am a big bare-foot convert. With that in mind I set out to find a nice compromise, a "minimalist" trail running shoe.
I did my due diligence, researched on-line reviews and tried on quite a few shoes at a couple of places, but nothing was feeling just right.
At around 7 o'clock the night before we were supposed to start our hike I found two different shoes that felt good on my feet and might be up to task. I had intended to take them out for a test drive on local trails with a loaded pack but that wasn't going to happen, which is how I ended up with all three pairs of shoes and the trail name Imelda as in Imelda Marcos of a thousand shoe fame.
I never ended using the big heavy hiking boots, either of the other shoes would have been just fine.
I also never used 5 of the 7 pair of socks I brought,(I had intended to have 4 pair but couldn't remember what I packed so threw in a couple extra and then ended up going sock-less for half the trip) , 2 out of 4 pair of underwear, the heavy sweater I brought, and 2 t-shirts.
I brought glowy juggling balls that I broke out twice for maybe a total of 3 minutes worth of tossing.
My solar panel proved to be of no use whatsoever because of cloud coverage as well as forest density. Which made the Iphone obsolete after the first day, hence very few photos.
I also never got around to firing up my brand new camp stove.
The trail shoes were a good purchase as I needed them anyway and that little bit of padding beyond the Merrills really hit the spot.
The water filter I brought even though the group already had a couple proved to be very helpful as the other pumps got clogged up with sediment. Mine did as well but since it was so much newer, it ended up working much more efficiently.
I had been eying this super ultra light weight rain shell for running and cycling but couldn't justify the exorbitant cost for such a flimsy jacket. But when I saw it marked down nearly 50% at REI, I picked it up. Wow!! For something I could wad up and fit in my fist, it really kept out the rain and wind and just that little layer was enough to make the difference between being chilled and being just right.
We were rushed to unpack and deal with our hiking gear because we were leaving the next day on a quick road-trip down to New Orleans to visit Cindy.
On the way down, Skye and I started listening to A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson which so far is quite funny and entertaining. While listening to it, I began to plan my own attempt at completing the trail. One more thing to add to the to-do list.