...or, “The Old Man and the Pavement.” Today I tested my GHB. My wife was on her way elsewhere and dropped me off 10 miles from home in Los Angeles. The final stretch toward home is a climb of 1000 feet (we live on a hill). Typical L.A. summer weather, 80 degrees. I had my 12-lb GHB (a Kelty Redtail) and my new-to-me army-surplus boots. I should note here that I’m well over halfway through a normal lifespan, with white hair and bifocals. I do 3 miles on an eliptical exerciser 4-5 times a week, and a little stretching and weight lifting, but I’m not in what I’d call “great” shape. I’m not overweight, but neither do I consider myself strong or particularly athletic. I kept my 1800 cu.in. pack full, even though I knew I’d not be needing it, because I wanted to test the bag for weight and comfort. However, I was only carrying 1 pint of water, knowing I could fill up along the way (a little cheating there). Here’s what I learned: - With the hill climb included, I averaged 2.9 miles per hour over the 10 miles. Took 3:20 hours of walking. - I used little from my pack (as expected), except for: scissors, water bottle, cash, cell phone, hat, sunblock, sunglasses, safety pins, and watch. Weighing so little, the pack was pretty comfortable. - I need to purchase a small pocket for the front of the pack, so it’s not necessary to dismount the pack each time small items are needed (particularly for the cell phone, to take a note, make a call, or take a photo). - I drank 4 pints (a half gallon) in 4 hours. Fill-ups were done at the many fast food joints I passed (cheating, again). - Had a “wet bag” explosion. Keep all my (non-H20) liquids in a double plastic bag, and glad I did. Didn’t get the handcleaner screwed tight and it spooged all over. Would have been a disaster if it'd been kept even in a single bag. Double-bagging was needed! - 2:30 hours in, my feet and left knee were hurting. This occasioned the biggest cheat of all, stopping at a Walgreen’s for insoles. That took 25 minutes of standing in line while a slow and sleepy teller sold pretty much the entire store’s stock of everything to a little lady with an overflowing shopping cart, and then trimming the insoles to fit. That foolishness was subtracted from the walk time, even though it gave me a good rest. Not sure what’s up with the knee. A little tender and it got iced when home. I have some doubts about these army surplus boots. They are the khaki split-leather-and-nylon type, Iraq-style, with vibram soles and gore-tex liners, but maybe not the best hiking boot. For this walk I’m sure walking shoes would’ve been better if I'd stayed on sidewalk, but I wanted to test the boots. The insoles helped a lot and were worth the stop. - I’m glad I had good socks. Polypro liners with Wigwam hiking socks over them. Like the experts say, your feet and shoes are of utmost importance. Climbing 1000 feet at the end of the walk was a bit of a slog, and there the boots finally earned their keep, because for miles of the upward trek there was no sidewalk (“nobody walks in LA” as the song correctly says). Then I took a (lenghty) “shortcut” through an abandoned canyon and that was difficult desert-style scrambling (sometimes 45 degree incline) on loose soil. Athletic shoes would not have coped with that. Can’t think of anything I needed that I wasn't carrying (thanks to help from this forum), except I needed better footwear; I don't think I could have done much more than 10 miles. If this were a real GH situation, what to do about the hurting knee? Compression with the ace bandage and ibuprophen is all I can think of doing when on the move.