Bronze's Expedition Log

Expedition Log

Evaluating Preparations

Only 6 weeks remain until I pack my panniers for Oregon, where my expedition will begin.  I’ve been grappling lately with my level of preparation–at times I feel pretty on top of things, other times woefully unprepared.  It is generally difficult to assess my preparedness since what I am attempting is largely unexplored territory to me.  I imagine the first week on the trail will reveal the extent of my readiness.  Until then I can only lie in bed rehearsing a day on the trail ad nauseum.

Things that give encouragement:

  • Bootsie handles the pack saddle without complaint.  I can rig it on her and hang both panniers in a very short time and I feel confident with my use of the diamond hitch.
  • It seems the panniers have ample volume to carry all of my gear.  Based on my calculations I wont be carrying an absurd amount of weight either.  I built a plywood frame consisting of a bottom and one side and they seem to prevent the panniers from sagging and losing shape.
  • I can keep a pretty steady 2.5mph pace with Bootsie on level ground.  I expect this to improve as she becomes used to what will become her daily duty.  I feel like she is bonding to me; trusting me more to lead her and keep her safe.
  • I have most of my major items purchased or made.  This weekend I will attend the Mountain Man Traders Faire at Fort Sutter where I hope to buy the bulk of my remaining necessities.  I’m really looking forward to shopping insed the walls of the historic fort, browsing wears under a canvas tent, and qureying some of the seasoned mountain men for advice
  • I have only 4 more batches of hardtack to bake.  I’ve got the pemmican process down to about 1 hour per week’s supply, meaning I need about 18 hours in the kitchen to complete my rations.  I’ve decided to finish production in Oregon where I can devote 2 solid days to making the rest.  It will be fresher that way too.
  • I’ve got solid expertise to help me in the form of Bob the Mountain Man and Louie the Mule Man, not to mention the countless other folks who’ve generously offered their assistance and support.  Ken from Western Feed in Yucaipa might even be able to trailer Bootsie up to Oregon for me!

On paper I’m feeling confident.  It’s all the intangibles of the trail that give me doubts about my success.  What if Bootsie goes lame, falls ill, falls off a ravine!?  What if my saddle breaks, or the moccasins don’t hold up, or the pemmican plays havoc with my insides?  Many of these factors could be out of my control, and thus worrying about them will serve little use.  I’ve chosen this endeavor and am committed to see it through, come what may.  Yet, that doesn’t prevent me from continually questioning if I’ve thought things through enough, prepared enough.  I constantly make mental evaluations of my plans, my state of readiness.  I currently exist on the bizarre margin between hyper-vigilance and happy submission to the fates of the trail.

One Response to “Evaluating Preparations”

  1. Beverly Overstreet says:

    So sorry to see you leave. I might as well quit the business. Your the only casting director that gave me work. However I will be driving up to Oregon to stay on the Mc Kenzie river just past Blue River, Oregon(A mining camp from the 1890’s)I will be there from July 1rst until September.I won’t be rouging it like you. I will be staying in my 22′ travel trailor. If you and your four footed friend end up my way stop in for some fly fishing. See ya later,Bev