Saturday, May 5, 2007


It started about a week ago. I wanted to get out hiking with my camera. So, I started to think what camera(s) to take, what lenses to go along, and what accessories I need. Then it was more a mental exercise getting ready to hike and photograph. In the past it was easy as I had the backpack and the camera system easy to pack along with the normal (ten essentials) hiking stuff. Over the week to Thursday it was just that, thinking to a decision.

By Friday, the day before I wanted to go on the first day the Nisqually Entrance to Mt. Rainier NP would be open all the way to Paradise, still in about 8+ feet of snow (all you can see from the parking lot and visitors center is snow). But it was more to get in and see the construction from last November's storm damage. It's been open to the Westside Road on Sundays, but I just never got there.

And so by Friday, I was ready to prepare the backpack. I have checklist years old on postit notes so I don't have to think beyond laying everything out and stuff it somewhere in the pack where it's easy to find. Well, I forgot one thing. While my old camera system with two bodies, 5-6 lenses, etc., my new digital/film camera system takes twice the room. "Oops." is an understatement.

I use an old medium Sundog "Art Wolfe" photo-backpack (the only thing he I like about his work). It's what some call, "the little refrigerator", because it looks like one. But its one advantage is that it accommodates both photography equipment and hiking gear, something the others don't do. And the Sundog is a front-loading pack so you have easy access to anything it without unloading stuff the top-loading packs require.

Anyway, I spread everything out on the living room floor in the early afternoon, and even after the Mariners-Yankees game was over (great game, M's won 15-11) I was still at the same place. I can't get everything into the pack and make it light enough to carry (remember I'm 57 now). It just doesn't work. So I have to make new decisions about what I take, film or digital, or find a way to go minimalist with the hiking gear.

And so I ended up putting everything back as it was and work on it another day, like Saturday to get out sometime over the next week or weekend. Sometimes it's just not a good idea to be less than prepared. Ok, I didn't mind not going today, with promises to go another day (don't we all do that?). Sometimes preparation is just a mental exercise to be ready to do something than actually preparing for it.

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