As dawn's rose red fingers heralded a new day we waved goodbye to 'Lights Out' from our little shack above the Baptist church in Troutdale. Walking the Appalachian trail means 6-8 days in the woods at a time so the hikers need to pack that much food to sustain them, all in a bear proof tub. His total pack weight is around 40 pounds / 20kg, including four litres of water – which is about the same as me.
Lights Out favours bread and other non-cooking foods, having sent his stove (and tent!) home through lack of use. Others use a small 'cat stove' – an alcohol burner made from a (presumably empty) cat food tin. He did meet a superfast walker who gorged himself at the points where the trail intersects with civilization and eats just 'nuts and berries' the rest of the time. I guess that lightweight approach is what they call doing it Alpen style... boom boom.
Obviously you can't take that much water with you so they drink water from streams, purified with iodine. Generally speaking the trail walkers sleep in three sided huts in the woods that are placed every 8-12 miles along the path. Incidentally, he got his name Lights Out from knocking himself out in one of these huts.
This afternoon we discussed and finally refused to go into a $3 local history museum on grounds of cost. We were also very tired, and we had just spotted the golden arches and a motel sign over the horizon. I am not sure we are becoming super-tight, but life on the road has certainly made us more frugal, and in a good way I think. You don't actually need much to stay alive and live a good life; with just a few hundred pounds worth of lycra, a high tech tent and two twenty seven speed touring cycles, you too can live for around $10 a day, and many days significantly less than that.
We checked into a motel last night in order to sort out the logistics of getting two people plus bikes from Virginia to Washington DC and home, which is something of a challenge. We have sorted it out in theory now, but like 'evolution', at the moment it's just a theory.
Finally we have been nominated in the Dorset Cereals 'Little Blog Awards' . A high accolade indeed and thank you for whoever it was who put us up for it. Please vote for us on this link, we are lusting over a muesli based gift pack and the ceremonial egg cup. If it was one of my evil marketing friends promoting one of their own projects by nominating us, knowing I am vain enough to crow about it, shame on you for playing on our emotions