I don’t have many luxury items in my pack these days, as a lighter pack has greatly enhanced my ability to enjoy the trail. But there are still a few items that are worth their weight in gold, one of them being my ipod nano.
I’m not even sure how much my ipod weighs, but I know it’s less than 4 ounces because that is how much my camera weighs, and the ipod is definitely weighs less than that. I loaded about 460 songs on the ipod before heading out to the trail, knowing that I would need it at some point during each day when the miles start to drag on. While most of the hiking is easy to enjoy, my worst miles are usually the ones after lunch and the last ones of the day.
After lunch, all I want to do is take a nap. We usually eat quite a bit of food at lunch, as we stop for a full hour to take off the shoes and just relax after half the day’s miles are done. Since there isn’t enough time in the day to hike a full day’s miles, eat lunch for an hour, take small breaks throughout the day, and take a nap, we simply start hiking once the lunch hour is over. Those have to be my hardest miles of the day. All I want to do is lay down in the sun with my full belly and tired legs. I’m so lethargic that I trip all over every rock and root for the first two hours after lunch. When I finally wake up and start digesting, I’m fine, but man are those miles difficult.
The other difficult miles are the last 4-6 miles into camp. I just want to be done for the day, but still have to walk another 1-2 hours before being done, so it’s quite a test of patience. Those last miles, along with the last few miles into town, can almost drive me crazy. My legs just won’t move fast enough for me to get to camp when I want to.
That is where my ipod comes in. It distracts me, entertains me, and most of all just makes the time go by faster. I listen to about 2-3 hours of music a day, for after lunch and the miles into camp, and am so thankful every time I turn it on. It can change my mood instantly and can get me through the worst of climbs or the most boring terrain. The batteries have lasted for at least 2-3 hours for a week at a time, so battery life is never a problem. It is worth every ounce that it weighs because of the daily medicine that it brings to my mental health. It is therefore worth its weight for Optimist as well, because a mentally healthy Stopwatch is good for him too.