Is it Worth the Weight?
As we have aged, we've also revised some of our goals for a backpacking trip. Ten years ago, we felt that a ten mile day was perfectly reasonable, even with full packs, and sometimes did as much as fourteen miles in a day. Not so much any more. And certainly not at the beginning of a trip, when the packs are full.
We've also done a number of trips that were longer than four days, but we've also come to realize that carrying for for six days means that my pack weighs over thirty-five pounds on the first day. I think this last trip convinced me that i don't want to carry that much weight again.
On our trips we each carry our own clothes, sleeping bag and sleepind pad. M carries the cook kit, the first aid kit, and the toilet kit. I carry the food (in a bear can) and the tent. Which means the longer the trip, the more weight I carry. For six days, I was carrying 14 pounds of food, plus the bear can, on top of my normal pack weight (which includes the tent.) My pack is a Go-Lite 50 that does pretty well with thirty pounds, but at thirty five or more (with a bottle of water) it begins to feel a little stressed--or maybe I'm the one that feels stressed.
And then there is the question of my knees--one of which suffers from arthritis. Extra weight doesn't help that, either. On our last day, we hiked nine miles out to the trailhead, and that was just about enough, at our age.
This doesn't mean we're not going backpacking anymore--just that we are going on shorter trips, both in time and distance, so that we can enjoy them more. See you out there.