This week when I submitted my weekly Kitchen Pass Request (KPR), the boss denied it. I thought I would be going backpacking. She (the Boss) said I have not been at home on a weekend in over two months and “her” To Do list was getting longer by the week.
So I am grounded this weekend.
One would think that the Boss should know better by now, than to leave me unsupervised with a Honey-Do List. But she did it again, leaving for some excursion with a friend. So I decided it was more productive to address the thread drift in the WPFTJMT thread.
TIME TO GET THE THREAD BACK ON TOPIC
So let’s get back to pencils. Since we are discussing the John Muir Trail, let us not overlook the fact that Mr. Muir, himself, operated with a pencil and paper.
His pencil and notes led to generally accepted glacier theories in the Sierra Nevada, especially Yosemite Valley; even though Muir was not a trained geologist. Not to mention many excellent books that led to protection of wilderness areas and a Movement. All this was accomplished with a pencil. Not a cell phone, not a camera, not a voice recorder, not a GPS, not a SPOT, not a PLB. How did Muir navigate these uncharted areas with just a pencil? How did he survive without those electronic devices, or even BPL to guide him in the proper gear choices to survive in the wilderness? More important than how, is the simple fact he did. We should emulate Mr. Muir.
THE UL LIFE
Much has been written on BPL about taking the UL principles of backpacking and applying them to life in general. Whether this is desirable or worthy is up to each individual.
I will point out that my own JMT Pencil search brought me to the conclusion that owning a pen is not required to live life or even backpack. It is unnecessary weight!
There are only two situations in life where you must have a pen. One is to sign a legal and binding contract, and the other is to sign a check. It occurred to me that whoever wants you to sign a contract will, in fact, have a pen at the ready for your signature. You do not ever need to carry a pen for contractual purposes. And you can live life without checks. Financial transactions can be carried out will electrons floating around inside a microprocessor. One of the reasons I rarely shop in stores anymore is to the time sucking delay in the checkout line when some person whips out a checkbook. That action sends shivers down my back.
So my move to a more ultralight life can be symbolized by the writing instrument case I used to carry in my business travel kit.
Traditional Heavy Writing Kit. Weight is 408 grams = 14.3918 ounces!!
By replacing all of this paraphernalia with a dozen Blackwing 602’s, I have been able to reduce the kit by 232 grams (8.18356 ounces), or a 56% percent reduction in weight!
Ultralight Writing Kit. 176 grams = 6.20822 ounces.
Yes, I can get by with just one pencil. But in business I must be concerned with efficiency and productivity. By not needing to stop and sharpen a single pencil, I can mass sharpen them on an airplane back home, and my work during the trip was completed quicker allowing me an earlier flight home and thus a greater inventory of recreational hours to invest in outdoor pursuits.
And let us not forget the creative side of the pencil for artistic endeavors!
edit: forgot to add the artwork. And on 2nd thought felt it would be proper to add a picture of John Muir too :)