Tuesday, August 15, 2017

adieu, O backpack

I had to put down my ailing Gregory Whitney 95 backpack today. The poor thing has been shedding flecks of faux leather since even before my big walk in April. The parting was fairly unceremonious: I took my backpack down to the B1 garage level, which is where we residents throw out our bagged garbage and recycling. When you throw away items that are out of the ordinary and a bit cumbersome, like worn-out desks and couches and standing lamps and computers, you have to pay the parking-garage guard a fee. In my case, that fee was W3,000, or just under three dollars. With that, I simply laid the backpack against a pile of garbage, turned, and walked away without a spoken goodbye. But inside, it felt as if I had abandoned a faithful travel companion. That pack, purchased in 2008, had been with me to Europe and back; it was the pack I used during my 600-mile hike in 2008, and it traveled to and from Korea with me several times. The April-May walk across South Korea was its last hurrah; when I used it recently during my abortive attempt to walk to Incheon in soul-crushing heat, the pack's hole allowed a water bottle to slip through, and at that point, I knew the old boy was done. It was only a matter of dropping the pack off at the basement dump, something I hadn't wanted to do since coming back from the failed walk on August 5. But today, I finally took a breath and did the deed, and I feel all the emptier for it.

From here, though, we have to look toward the future. I'm still brand-loyal to Gregory, and I see on Amazon that Gregory has a new, sleek pack: the Gregory Denali 100. This might be a great replacement for my defunct Whitney 95. It costs a lot more, but part of that is probably because of improved tech since 2008. I'll give it a look and see how I like it.

The walk goes on.

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