gaiters and gorp

March 11, 2006

I have recently discovered that the internet world is not terribly friendly towards a librarian who is planning to lead an outdoor excursion. Somehow, my library science training has not adequately prepared me for navigating the online presence of outdoor enthusiasts. Or perhaps it has been helpful, and I am just impatient . . .
Either way, it took me longer than I expected to compile and create detailed “plans” for my upcoming week-long excursion on the Appalachian Trail. But I persisted, neglecting my library this week while I tracked down caloric expenditure charts, teen backpacking tips, packing lists and checklists, sample menus, backpackers recipes, carrying-weight charts, per person guidelines, and shopping lists.
Finally yesterday, satisfied with my work, I collected my final versions of a packing checklist for the students, menu planning chart for the week, corresponding recipes divided into Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners, “cheat sheet” tips for cooking all manner of trail foods [dehydrated eggs, rice, milk powder, etc], and a shopping list in chart format, to be completed with per person/per meal amounts.
Hunting down my co-leader for the trip, I found him as he enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the teacher’s lounge. Probably interrupting his bantering conversation with another teacher, I presented him with each document, explaining my thoughts concerning each one. Then I waited. He humored me, thanked me for all my work, and kindly looked over it all.
Reading between the lines, though, I came away pretty sure that he, with years more leading experience than I have had, surely [and rightly] must think I am overdoing it. When it comes to outdoor trips of this length, I do have enough past experience to know that the planning I do is more for my own peace of mind than anything else. There is something comforting about “preparing,” even though once out on the trail it is difficult to really be “prepared.” Prepared for the nitty gritty realities of being out there, at any rate . . .
Well, who knows: I guess we’ll find out next week how much help my extensive, librarian-ish preparations have been “ :-)

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