The other day I filled my backpack for the first time with the stuff I thought I would be taking on my trip. Getting all of my gear into the pack was a daunting task, a battle of wits between myself and an inanimate object. I lost round one due to a disagreement between my sandals and my sleeping bag, but I kept my eyes on the prize, and round two worked out in my favor when I finally managed to squeeze it in all at once. Total weight: 40 pounds. Total room to spare: El Zilcho.
I figured I'd probably want to buy some stuff along the way, so with no empty space, my backpack was too heavy and too full. I took everything out, laid it all on the floor, and meticulously added to the empty backpack only the things I needed to survive. Round three made my backpack light enough to take anywhere with ease. Total weight: 27 pounds. Total room to spare: Enough for a bowling ball. Too bad I gave mine away.
Traveling would have been pretty easy with only 27 pounds on my back, but without a camera or laptop computer, the memories of my journey would escape my head far too quickly. My light- and word-capturing devices and accessories weighed 13 pounds. I deemed these items necessary and added them back in, while leaving out life's little luxuries. The compromise of round four was a clear victory for me. Total weight: 35 pounds. Total room to spare: Enough for a few bottles of tequila and some painkillers for the impending herniated discs.
Today I gave hiking with my full backpack a try. I traversed three miles of roadway in 45 minutes. At the end, my shoulders were a little sore, but my overall condition was surprisingly good. Of course, I was hiking on a flat road at a low altitude. I imagine it won't be so easy when I attempt to hike a vertical mile on uneven rocks in the thin mountain air, but at least my proof of concept was a success.
I think my 35-pound backpack will work out. It may slow me down a little, but I should be able to manage. The best part is that I will be able to take my nifty gadgets with me to capture the greatest moments of my journey for all to see. I haven't even left, yet I can already feel the dew forming at the Gate of the Sun as the crisp morning air whisks away the dark sky of the night, revealing the greatest secret of the ancient Inca world.