mercredi, septembre 07, 2005

first denver installment

So the weeks before our trip to Denver, CO, USA and Estes Park.Rocky Mountain National Park, USA were hectic with both work and the necessary preparation for the trip. Hours each day were spent in researching the area, Jewish life necessities -synagogues (nothing Sephardi and nothing modern orthodox), kosher food, and even some of the history of the area (Denver's first Jews came with the mining boom), past inhabitants of the area, camping/hiking information, and fun things ilke new favorites for hiking gear... whew! It was a lot of stuff to find out! I found a lot of interesting tidbits out. Of great interest to me were the essentials needed for a mountain hiking first aid kit and directions on how to properly pack a backpack.. (something I hadn't done since my days in the Appalachians of Virginia back in 1995).. so as not to cause oneself back pain, shoulder pain, or other pack-carrying discomforts. (my '95 experiences were with external frame packs for camping and this trip was a light internal frame pack --a Gregory Iris, for those of you who are afficianados-- and day hiking rather than camping. The last serious day hiking I did was either Acadia National Park, Maine, USA or Indiana State Dunes, IN, USA. I even contacted Su (of Su and Yakov fame) and Mike (of Kipling fame to whom we now owe a significant mazal tov as he just got engaged) to get more information on the area. Both people were tremendously helpful. Su's assessment of Denver is not to be repeated, but let's say she recommended RMNP highly over the city of Denver.

We heard via Palo Alto and via Skokie that Denver's frum community might not be "comfortable." Who knows what that was supposed to mean?

I packed food as is my normal wont, bringing along an aluminium camping cookset -which proved to be quite valuable. I followed a Schiller tradition and packed away a salami too. I actually brought along and extra one for our shababt hosts. Since food is always a concern, I'd actually planned out a complete menu for the entire trip. That made shopping when we got there petty easy and straightforward, which I like. Having accumulated an all too long list of things to take along, I sorted out what was a nnecessity and what was not, erring on the side of more things to take in the case of emergency gear and erring on the side of less things to take by way of sefarim and the like. Considering my physical condition, I decided that there would be a limit to how much I could carry and I set the bar at 25 lbs.

I knew that I would carry medical supplies, which probably weighed in at 2lbs and added on approx. 3L or more of water with requisite toilet supplies, food, and the reguarl emergency mountain supplies of flashlight, compass, whistle, matches, raingear, mylar sleeping bag and mylar blanket, etc. The gregory Iris pack is excellently designed for such a trip and really I adored the pack... I'd recommend it to any small folk who is looking for a comforatble and lightweight daypack. All the engineering design work I've done led me to a real appreciation for this pack. The cloth is strong and really lightweight, the pack compression straps are great.. the only part that is annoying is the canted pouch on the right hand side,which really would have been best if it had been parallel like the pouch on the other side.. all in all though, i wouldn't complain too much about that.. as the pack withstood bad weather, too. Oh, though of course, I packed everything in ziplock bags, so there is another downside to the pack.. the little mesh pocket is well.. mesh.. so if you're not accustomed to packing in zip lock bags (I think I may single-handedly keep ziplock bag producers in business) then you won't be as satisfied as I was about how well the pack performs in snow and hail and rain.