I just realised that in exactly a month, I shall be taking the plane to Tanzania and the start of the trip of my life. Time to start fine-tuning and double-checking my kit, and to try to get in some more hill walking, not made easier by the horrendous rain we’ve been having over Christmas and the huge work deadline I have on 15th January, which has been consuming literally all my time over the Christmas “holiday”. Despite my best intentions, I had a whole week with no exercise apart from the odd 30 minute walk with my mum and her dog (on the flat) over Christmas, and after my first circuits class back after just a week off, my quads and hamstrings are screaming at me today. Hmm, clearly not as fit as I thought then. I’m also starting to worry about kit – the sleeping bag I was hoping to get from Alpkit is still out of stock and not going to be ready in time, so I think I’m going to have to spend an extra £50 and get a Rab one (which is also about 500g heavier). I just can’t quite make the decision.
And I’m still umming and ahhing about walking boots. My lighter ones I bought for summer didn’t stand up well to the snow in the Peak District the other day (my feet felt very cold) and having tried again my old Meindls (heavier, toasty warm, but sometimes give me blisters and also have no grip left) I decided they really don’t cut the mustard. So I bought a pair of Scarpas (having seen them in Blacks for £120, then found them in TK Maxx for £70) and am now wondering how they’ll fare, as I don’t have much time to test them and break them in. I’m wearing them round the house and trying to decide whether to keep them (and test them properly outside). There are probably half a dozen minor things I still need, like figuring out a way of using my hydration system so it doesn’t freeze in sub zero temps (because if I use an insulated bottle instead, I know I’ll never get it out of the bag and actually drink from it). And debating whether my rucksack is going to be adequate (it’s 30 litres, so a little on the small side, and although comfortable and with loads of useful features, is actually quite heavy). I also need to get a prescription for Diamox from my GP, and see if I can get him to prescribe me the TruOne meter/strips combo thing as a backup for my blood glucose meter. I’ve also been experimenting with a different meter after my trusty Ascensia Breeze 2 broke (they don’t make them any more), and am weighing up the pros and cons of a meter with integral strips but which is heavier and bulkier, with one that isn’t integral and involves faffing with a pot of strips). So far I think the ease of testing outweighs the bulkiness issue.
I also need to step up the fundraising drive, something I hate doing, but very few people have actually sponsored me so far. The university staff newsletter were very keen to do a story on my trip, so I’m hoping if that goes ahead I might get a few more sponsors.
So a busy time ahead. I’ve been compiling a post about all the various pieces of kit I’m taking, but still have to finish that one….should be coming soon.