My lease has almost run. Having a little money in my purse, but fuckall to interest me in this bit of land called Portland, it looks like I will soon be closing up shop and moving on.
I am currently preparing my application to business schools. I want to be a businessman (or a business lawyer, wherein the difference is trivial). To spend two years learning the best ways to be that, would seem to me the best possible use of my time. Moreover, I want to be surrounded by people of abilities and ambitions meet with my own. It sounds about like paradise – probably more than an MBA program should – but I think I’m okay with that.
The difficulty, here, is that I will not be able to apply to schools until early September. I won’t find out if I’ve been made a good offer until November, maybe December. And I won’t be able to start the program until the following September. As such, I quite likely have eighteen months between Now and Starting School.
I am still casting about for gainful employ. But the impending loss of my lease is an excellent time to cut bait. I then have eighteen months to do… nigh-on whatever I want. Ah, that old brass ring!
Having considered the matter at great length, I have decided that I would like to do a little hiking.
I will be taking the month of April to see if that is feasible – I am out of shape in general, and just coming off of two ACL surgeries in specific. If it is, my plan is to put boots on the AT starting May 1st. If I start at Harper’s Ferry (the halfway point) and head north, I could well reach Katahdin by the end of July. I will then come home, submit my bschool applications, and go from there.
If hiking doesn’t prove feasible, I will try another bicycle tour – it is easier on the knees than mountaineering. Hopefully at least one of these options will be available to me.
Now, I have already done a little hiking, and a little camping, though not much. Consequentially I have a little gear. The only major purchases I will need to make relate to my sleep system.
The big questions before me will be:
Do I want to sleep in a hammock, or in a tent?
Do I want to sleep in a mummy sleeping bag, or a quilt sleeping bag (or two)?
Let’s take the first question: hammock or tent. Fortunately, I own both a teeny little solo tent, and an “adventure hammock” with a bugnet and tarp. I’ve overnighted in both and they’re both lovely.
My tent weighs 1247 grams, including the rain fly. My hammock weighs 992 grams, but 567 for its rain tarp – total 1559 grams. However, with the tent, I’d also have to carry a mattress pad. That’s 341 grams, for a total of 1588. IE, they weigh exactly the same.
If I go with a tent, I will be able to buy a quilt or a mummy sleeping bag. The use of a pad means that a quilt is probably preferable. To wit:
Quilts are more versatile, as you can cinch them tight against the cold or lay them open like a blanket when it’s warmer. In a mummy, you’re either hot or your not. Also, with a quilt, you are never sleeping on top of the down – compressing it, making it both less functional and also drastically reducing its lifespan.
If I go with a hammock, I will not have a pad beneath me. That means I will either need a mummy sleeping bag, and the hammock magnifies the strikes against them. OR I will need two quilts, one to wrap around the outside of the hammock, and one to go over me. Now, this sounds positively nestly to me – but the only thing worse than spending $300 on a down quilt is having to do it twice. (And then having to carry both of them – an extra pound of pack weight!)
As a result, it sounds more and more like I’ll be choosing to use a tent-based sleeping system, along with my trusty NeoAir pad and a down quilt. I sleep warm (I’ve done 29F nights in a 45F bag), so I expect I’ll be quite fine with a 30F quilt. The ZPacks 30F (regular length and width) weighs a mere 473 grams; the Katabatic Elite is about 2oz heavier but the down is treated to be water resistant. I’m sure there are other models to consider, too.
But during the month of April, I will be trying out both my hammock and my tent to see if there is a mote of personal preference which might push me in one direction or the other. I have a generously rated 15F bag that should suffice. I also have a synthetic 45F bag for lashing to the outside of the hammock, to see how that goes.
I’m in no hurry.