Sometimes the hardest part of a hike is getting there. This travel day went much smoother than most. On time flights, good weather and Uber save the day.
Packing and Preparing
I have been working on the gear list for several weeks now. In fact I have had more time to prepare for this hike than most hikes. But there have been many points of indecision such as which stove to take.
I prefer using the isobutane stove because it is fast and convenient but there is a shortage of being able to purchase the canisters in Miami. The alcohol stove burns ethanol or methanol which is easy to find at gas stations Walmart and many other stores.
The day before I left, I checked Dick’s sporting goods and Walmart to see what the availability was in Gainesville. Walmart had both heet and denatured alcohol and Dick’s sporting goods still had some isobutane cylinders.
I spent the morning before the flight testing both methanol and ethanol in the alcohol stove. The methanol had a definite odor to it and being toxic I decided I will probably never use that in the future. Both fuels took about 4 minutes to boil a cup of water.
The isobutane stove takes just over a minute to boil the same amount of water. Decision made – isobutane it is, even if it is going to be harder to find them on the trail.
I still also had not decided which camera gear to take. The drone weighs two and a half pounds with three batteries but takes awesome video. The 360° camera is only a half a pound and the video quality is not great but the pictures that it takes are clearly unique. The pocket osmo also takes excellent video and is probably what I will be using most of the trip. In the end it all matters how heavy the pack is as to how many cameras I bring.
So when I finally packed everything up with 5 days of food but no cameras and no water it ended up weighing 22 lb. That was lower than I was expecting so I have decided to bring all three cameras since I should be able to keep the total weight under 30 lb even with water.
Having a late flight at 7:30 p.m. instead of a.m. means that I have plenty of time to do chores. And one of those chores is getting my haircut for the last time for the next 2 months.
Karen used the same stylist many years ago, so she went with me to my appointment. It was like a small family reunion. But we were very early so we ran out for a quick beer before arriving.
After the haircut, we went to the local food court. They have a satellite location of one of our favorite pizza shops so it was a great decision. I have a feeling that Karen will be going there without me quite a bit.
We also got to the airport early. Early is beginning to become a theme for this trip which is perfectly fine for me. TSA even opened up the screening line early for me. And that’s a good thing because they wanted to open my pack and inspect a few things which took time.
Did you know that you can’t take peanut butter on an airplane? I know that now. They were super nice about it and even offered to let me go leave it in my car if I had a car in the parking lot. No car, not for a while. I had to sacrifice a new jar of Trader Joe’s peanut butter to the landfill gods.
I had just read an article that morning about Southwest airlines canceling nearly all their flights. I was hoping that American airlines was not in a similar situation. The flight was on time and maybe even a little early. When there are only 30 people on the plane, and you are the only plane leaving the airport, nice things like that can happen when the weather is good.
The flight was perfect. Fifty minutes to Miami. But the Miami airport is so big that it took 25 minutes just to get to ground transportation.
I got on the shuttle bus to the Courtyard and even asked the driver if this was going to the Courtyard on the northwest corner of the airport and he said yes. After getting to the Courtyard I realized it was the one on the Southeast corner of the airport instead. Uber time
Once I finally got to the correct hotel, the check in went very quickly. I had shipped three last minute Amazon packages to the hotel and they were delivered earlier today, so I inquired about them. They said they would go get them and then ring my room when they had them. No phone calls.
Thinking about the packages and a travel day on an airplane, means that the brain is going 100 mph. I arrived at the hotel at 11:00 p.m. and waited for the packages until 12:00 but could not get to sleep until about 1:00 a.m.
Emotion of the Day
It is hard to pick a single word to describe the emotions of the day. But releif has to be the strongest one.
I have been preparing for this hike for approximately two months. To not have made a decision on either stove or cameras until the day of the flight is very unusual for me.
But with such an easy travel day, a lighter than expected pack, and less worry about purchasing fuel in Miami, means that there are no more decisions. Other than tracking down my packages, finding a place to eat breakfast, and getting an isobutane cylinder for the stove, there is nothing left to do except hike.