Home > Dispatches > Trip Preparations > January 20, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Right Stuff

Pete and I went gear shopping today. He’s s a very good shopper, maybe because he’s most adept at contrast and comparison. (Maybe composition teachers have their students write contrast and comparison essays with the intent of making them more adept consumers.) Dunno. The question that is being raised, as we buy stuff for our Tolt the Divide trip, is do we need it? Right now we think we do. I suspect that we’ll think otherwise when we transition from vehicle to pack horse status.

The what ifs have always been a moral compass when trip planning. No hardship has been our motto on bicycle and sea kayak trips. Once again, we don’t want to have to endure hardship of any type—and while there’s always the unforeseen, having the right stuff on hand will make life easier for us and our animals. Then and now, we are considering what ifs. What ifs keep us from under and over spending, which in this instance, is a good thing. Our budget is limited. We don’t want to take a second mortgage out on the house.

You want examples? I got ‘em. Because this is a dispatch, I’m limiting myself to talking about one evening’s foray into REI. Here we go. I propose what ifs, and together Pete and I come up with shopping-related solutions. What if the dogs paws get torn up by cactus thorns? Let’s invest in two sets of Vibram soled dog booties. What if the only available water source looks or is questionable? Let’s take not one, but two water filters, one which has a pump, and one which is gravity fed. What if the water isn’t immediately accessible? Let’s buy collapsible buckets. No wait, we can use Millenium Gold buckets. What if there’s a storm ahead? Let’s purchase a radio, one which gives weather updates. What if, indeed.

We’re planning on having a support crew with us on the first couple weeks of our trip. Pete’s brother Pat is going to drive the truck and trailer and meet us at designated campsites. This means that we’ll begin with a lot of stuff, and then before Pat’s departure, jettison stuff. (I like this word, jettison; it brings to mind an image of me tossing items in a willy nilly fashion into the truck bed.) But we’ll then have to make some tough decisions since the rule of thumb is that no horse is going to be asked to carry more than 150 pounds in weight. This includes saddles, packs, animal food, and the like. (The dogs will have packs, but they will be carrying no more than 5 pounds each.)

I’ve decided that we are not going to jettison the new radio. The Scorpion has all the bells and whistles, some which include, but are not limited to, an AM and FM radio, the previously-mentioned weather radio, a flashlight, and a cell phone charger. And it has a solar and a hand-crank charger. How cool is that? And it weighs well less than half a pound . . . . This of course, begs the question, what if we lose it?