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Two weeks from tomorrow, I’m leaving for my Camino.

The bills are on auto-pay, the house is readied for the sitter, and the packing is complete.

Granted, the packing itself wasn’t that hard. Rather, the difficult part was deciding how little I could take, since I’ll be carrying all my belongings on my back for 500 miles.

My packing list was gleaned from the advice of others who have walked before me. Honestly, I had planned to take a bit more, but my pack weighs in at 17 pounds without food or water.

Experts say one should aim to have a pack weighing 10 percent of one’s body weight. Unfortunately my pack exceeds this amount. But I’m not sure I can get it any lighter.

Here’s what I’m taking:

Osprey Aura 50 pack*
Two pairs Ex Officio hiking pants
Two pairs Ex Officio short sleeve shirts
Two sets Ex Officio undies
Three pair REI merino wool socks
Two pair sock liners
One pair silk long undie bottoms
One Danskin lightweight, wicking long sleeve top
One REI puffy wind jacket
One Turtle fur hat
One pair gloves
One bandana
One sleep mask
Travel size toiletries: baby shampoo/wash, sunscreen, petroleum jelly, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, a few each of various medicines (i.e. allergy, ibuprofin, probiotic)
Half a bar laundry soap, handful of big safety pins (to hang clothes), travel clothes line
Two travel size packages of Kleenex, a handful of wet wipes, moleskins, bandaids
Lightweight sleeping bag
Medium travel towel
Altus Atmospheric rain poncho
One pair gaiters
Panasonic Lumix camera and battery charger
iPhone and charger
Plug converter
Spanish dictionary, Camino guidebook
Swiss army knife, can opener, Spork, a few plastic baggies
One pair Tevas
Sun hat
Duffel bag to protect backpack on airplane since the pack must be checked
Hiking poles

* Note that the pack itself weighs 3 pounds. If I had it to do over, I’d buy a lighter pack. But I’ve had my pack for over a year now and I’m pretty attached to it.

I’ll also take a paperback book for the plane, then download some other books to the Kindle app on my phone.

There are several items I had initially planned on taking that won’t make the trip, including protein powder, a long underwear top, a bathing suit, and contacts. Also, even though I tend to have dry skin, I’m not packing body lotion. If necessary , I can buy most everything I need in Spain.

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So the bag is packed and I’m ready to go! I can’t believe that, after two years of planning, the trip is finally here!

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I finally got to test out my new backpack this past weekend while hiking near Blowing Rock, NC.  I arrived early enough on Friday to get in a short hike.  So the first place I visited was a sweet little trail in the middle of town called the Glen Burney Trail:

This trail featured a nice descent, walking past three waterfalls.   The one below is the Glen Burney falls:

It rained on the way back up, so I had the opportunity to use my nice new pack cover.  Worth every penny, it kept everything nice and dry!

The next day, I headed out to the Tanawha Trail and hiked from Rough Ridge parking area to the Linn Cove Viaduct visitor center and back.

The mountain laurels were starting to bloom:

As were the rhododendron:

It felt magical walking through the bushes, totally surrounded by foliage:

 

I stopped every few feet to take pictures of the views:

And because I love rocks, I have lots of photos that include rocks, like this one:

and this one:

 

I got to marvel at this tree’s will to live:

Finally, after four hours of walking on stony paths like this:

I headed out to easier pathways: the carriage trails at the Moses Cone Craft Center:

 

I love big, old houses, so as I walked, I spent a little time imagining what it would have been like to live in a house like this, with views like these:

Saturday’s total mileage was about 9 miles, which was shorter than I thought I would do, but the Tanawha Trail was a bit challenging due to the recent rain and my discovery that I really needed some new hiking boots.  Plus I have this annoying habit of stopping and taking photos constantly.  And stopping to bask in the sun on a nice large rock.

Anyway, I got in another six miles on the carriage trails on Sunday before heading home.  All in all a good weekend for using the pack and the poles.

And my pack has a name!  Don’t know that I’m ready to share it quite yet, but it’s a Native American name for a mountain that’s fairly close to my house.

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