Sunday, 26 July 2009

Assorted weekend updates:

On Saturday I increased my hiking pack weight to 9.4kg by adding my tripod because there was a particular photo I wanted to capture on the route we were planning on walking. When we got there the view was blocked with plant growth so I need not have bothered carrying the extra weight. But it was a useful experiment in that I now know I'm a wimp and 9.4kg is more than I'm currently comfortable carrying in the Golite Jam rucksack. Curiously I'm ok moving but the weight starts to tell when I'm standing waiting for my wife to climb over styles. I was getting somewhat grumpy and tired by the 8 mile point... I'm still a little off the 14kg design limit but hey, more training required for heavier loads - but that is why I'm practicing before hitting a few 'real' backpacking trips. I'm still struggling to imagine carrying anyone carrying more than 20kg!

Sunday was a day out racing with the BHPC. This was only my second time cycling this year and it told! I took my GTX (which I guess is a custom-made, higher spec and lighter predecessor of this trike) which is lean and low but set up more as a touring rather than a racing bike. It was a good fun day out, a little damp around the edges and I was stuggling to keep my pace up for the 35minute race.

I've been practicing with the Einzel-Kocher EK750OB and I think I'm getting more proficient using it, but I'm not yet at the stage of trusting my abilities to get boiling water for coffee out of it... On Sunday at the races I used the MSR Pocket Rocket because it is quick and simple. I am undecided yet as to whether this is the way to go for the trip or if I'd rather avoid carrying a gas canister inside a faired cycle... I guess any gas leak *should* dissipate before it became a problem but..... I am sure that my problems with the EK are down to my basic inability to make fire. I have the same problems trying to light the log burner in our holiday cottage.
I fear this is one of those lost skills - 50 years ago everyone (who didn't have someone to do it for them) could light their household fire. Now it is an automated gas boiler... I'm contemplating booking on one of those bushcraft courses. Oh, and I've ordered more kit - a decent wood working knife to aid splitting wood, making kindling,etc. I know more kit is more weight and I might be better off just making do with a gas or meths stove but it does feel more natural to be using a wood burner! And firelighting is prehistoric tech - just how hard can it be???

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