August 11
For the last 8 years I have walked at least 25 hours a month with elevation. It is my time for physical and mental rejuvenation. I often listen to audiobooks from or the libraries but more often I enjoy the peace and quiet. For the last 6 weeks, I have had a companion, a 30 pound backpack which has made the hikes more interesting. I have backpacked between an hour and 4 hours with up to 1800 feet total elevation in Post Falls, ID, Coeur D’ Alene ID, Leavenworth, WA, Lake Stevens, WA, Scottsdale, AZ and Bloomington, MN. Hiking poles have become as essential as my legs, especially on the steep climbs. I have avoided only one element that will be abundant in Scotland: rain. I refuse to practice getting wet.


On top of Sauer Mountain looking down on Leavenworth and over to Cascade peaks

On Amazon (sorry REI), I bought layered clothes from socks to pants to base shirts, mid-layer, waterproof jacket, gloves, hat, ponchos. Oh yeah, underwear too. I will also bring a shell sleeping bag, single-person tent, a miniature stove, water filter, medical pack, toiletries, Surface computer, phone, maps, West Highland book, waterproof bag cover, cooking utensils, ropes and ties, knife (to fend of squirrels and the like), compass, extra light shoes and a bunch of other things added to my pack (and to the weight). As usual, Alana has offered good advice through this process. Some things I can buy along the way. Some things I may throw away when I get tired of carrying them.

I will get Scottish money through AAA before the trip and have debit and credit cards for some restaurants and lodging. Our phone service provider is Verizon. They don’t have an automatic world-wide plan but for $10 per day I can use my existing phone (which won’t work in many places I go anyway). So, if I use it once during the day or 100 times, it is $10. I probably will just do airplane mode on some days so I am not tempted to make a frivolous phone call. I will be skyping, emailing, texting, blogging and working as the opportunity arises.

I have prepared for the expected and am looking forward to the unexpected. As Kurt Vonnegut used to say “So it goes”.