Reading Time: 2 minutes


I survived my first day carrying the backpack; but trust me, it wasn’t easy. I’m sure many of you who hike will understand.

I weighed the pack this morning—23 lbs. While this is certainly not heavy by most backpacker’s standards, I’ve never personally hiked any significant distance with a backpack. So for me, it’s heavy.

It was my shoulders that complained first, and they continued to complain. I adjusted the pack as I walked. I’d read all of the online advice and recommendations as to adjustment, where to carry the weight, etc., and took regular breaks.

And now that I’m resting at the motel after a shower, it’s my legs that have taken up the complaining.

I took an early lunch break at S & K Dairy Cup and had quite a good fish sandwich plus a chocolate malt that reminded me of the chocolate malts of my youth. While waiting for my order I chatted with Greg who was with his young son. Later, while his boy played on the slide and swing, Greg told me he’s an environmental scientist with the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, ORSANCO, which monitors the water quality of the Ohio River. We shared environmental stories and concerns.

A sidewalk took me the last few miles into Hillsboro, and I stopped at a Burger King for fries, a Dr Pepper, and some air conditioning. Then, after eight hours on the road, I arrived at the Days Inn. (I see that Milton Caniff, the cartoonist and creator of Terry and the Pirates, was born in Hillsboro.)

Later, I ate dinner at a nearby McDonald’s and afterwards chatted with the shift manager, Regina. When she heard about my walk, she asked if I’d like a free hot fudge sundae for dessert. Did she think I’d turn it down?

I’ve maintained for years this personal philosophy: If you can do 1 pull-up, you can do 2; if you can lift 50 lbs., you can lift 60 lbs.; if you can walk 10 miles, you can walk 12. And so on. So if I can survive a 17 mile walk carrying a 23 lb. backpack, I can walk a second day.

17 miles today.

@ Hillsboro, Ohio

Go top