The Trek: Nothing Weighs Nothing

Seven hundred miles into my 2011 Appalachian Trail thru-hike, I met Scavenger. From Germany, Scavenger exuded the look of the classic European mountaineer with a wide-brimmed brown felt hat, heavy leather hiking boots and a backpack that towered over his head. He had earned his trail name due to his indiscriminating penchant for adding to his back whatever he found along the trail, in shelters or in town. By the time I met him outside Catawba, Virginia, his pack had grown to 70 pounds, weighed down by frivolous items like a small hatchet and a mirror he claimed to have never used. “But it weighs nothing!” he said in defense of the comb that had yet to stroke a single hair follicle. Continue reading