I am ready.
Over the last 20 years I feel that I have perfected the art of packing a suitcase for a two to four day business trip or a long weekend and usually get an admirably packed case together in under 10 minutes, 15 if I am packing for two. Packing a rucksack for 14 days walking in uncertain weather, is an entirely different proposition and very few of my two decades worth of well-honed skills are worth much for the job. Getting my kit together for a two day ski tour is a doddle compared to this. I have chosen a 45 litre Deuter backpack and it is bursting at the seams. More experienced travellers than I could probably get enough kit in for an Everest expedition and I don’t even have a sleeping bag with me. Expecting miserable weather, storms and torrential rain, I am at least waterproofed, although I cannot shake off the feeling that I have left out something critical (I have toothpaste, I have my Hobes (http://www.hobes.com.au/hobes/mens-original-hobe-7) for the evening – with a tip of my hat to Georgia – I have my headlamp. I also have my skitour pants and some heavy-duty cold weather kit, which takes up half the pack, but I can’t really leave it behind in January, can I?). I will try and be truthful and own up when I discover what exactly it is I have forgotten, when it becomes apparent during the first few days of next week. Promise.
Stella – pictured to the right of my boots – has taken to following me around since I took my boots out of the cupboard and is convinced that we are off for some serious outdoor activities. I can tell by the spring in her step and the glint in her eye and the fact that she is salivating all over my jacket. She has been lying next to my backpack since I finished packing it and is going to hate me tomorrow, when I leave without her. I am sorely tempted to take her with me, but won’t or can’t.
My newly downloaded Ordinance Survey App (a great piece of software) works, my online tickets have been purchased (an adventure all of its own, deserving of its own blog) and I am checked in for my flight. Next post from England and the start of what will be my longest trip home for 16 years and the second longest in 27. I still can’t wait.