So yeah, two months since my last update. Some nerds will now tell you how I feel about that.
Not long after my last update, a decent-sized work project suddenly became an emergency-sized work project, and I've been tied to my desk seven days a week. This will give me a welcome dose of extra ATM-able cash, but it brought planning and preparations to a standstill. I submitted my materials for the very last deadline this morning, and I'm taking stock of where things are at for this trip.
Sometime when I was re-editing textbooks, the day of my departure slipped from "eventually" to "pretty soon." Luckily, all my overeagerness has kept me in good shape. In fact, other than looming excitement/anxiety, things are pretty much on track. I still have a few purchases to make, but most of them are on the order of warm-weather clothes and extra socks, things I just have to go out and get, rather than research and decide. What needs to happen now is a shift from buying/preparing to arranging/acting. Soon I'll have to ship stuff to my uncle in Washington, buy plane tickets, switch my utility responsibilities to my roommates, that sort of thing. And even though these things won't result in physical evidence, they somehow make the trip feel a lot more real than the growing pile of gear in my room. (crap, yeah, cleaning my room... that's another thing that went neglected while I worked...)
I suppose this post should have a point. Instead, here are some completely random things:
I've outlined potential itineraries for most of the parks of the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West, right up through the Grand Canyon trip, reading guidebooks and highlighting likely routes. Then, the Colorado Plateau and Southwest are big blanks. But by the time I get to Utah at the end of October, it seems better to make decisions as I go: weather will be more of a factor, there will be fewer crowds to avoid, and the lack of water will restrict my distance and time away from sources. My M.O. will be something like car-camping with day hikes, rather than longer wilderness backpacking.
My mess kit is adorable, but I can just feel in my heart that a spork isn't enough, so I splurged on a titanium silverware set.
I haven't had time to do nearly as much hiking as I'd hoped (other than one trip up Mt. Monadnock before the project kicked in--back when there was still snow on the ground), but I did get myself back on a solid jogging/workout schedule after a notably lazy winter.
I bought one of those 7-day pill organizers to use as a traveling spice rack. I AM SO CREATIVELY RESOURCEFUL.
I have still not made a decision about that stupid bear canister thing.
I think I will get myself one of these Steripen UV water purifiers, keeping my tablets on-hand as a backup. The Steripen gets constant rave reviews, and it is light and convenient. It still sounds (and costs) suspiciously magical.
And now, I'm off to figure out how to use up the 5-lb bag of whole-wheat flour I bought when I was cooking out of that frikking backpacking recipe book (which, BTW, I never found again).