Over the old Roman bridge on the trail from Lyon to Le-Puy, France 2009
Over the old Roman bridge on the trail from Lyon to Le-Puy, France 2009.

Making Light ~ the “2-Day” Rule

“What if I need it?”

One of the hardest hurdles for some novice ultralighters to overcome is mastering the art and discipline of “leaving it behind”. They worry over lists of gear and supplies that they might need, even though they think (and hope) they probably won’t. “But I might! And what if I do?”

For example, ”What if I catch a cold? Maybe I should take some cold medicine. Just in case…” “What if there are mosquitoes? Maybe I should carry repellent. Just in case…” “What if etc., etc,. etc…”

The concern is understandable. Even though walking through the French or Spanish countryside is quite different than being several days in from a backcountry trailhead, it’s still a foreign country… you’re not quite sure how it works… you may not speak the language well… whatever… [MEMO: These are all things that make adventure travel adventurous.]

In fact, in most parts of rural Europe, you’ll likely pass several pharmacies every day. But there is the occasional day you might not.

Here’s a suggestion that has worked for me, and others. Take a one or two day supply of whatever it is you can’t bear to leave behind. That way, you’ll have enough to get by in a pinch, and two days to find a pharmacy or doctor if you need one. In the meantime, you won’t overly burden your back.

Another nice thing about having a couple of these or those, is that they add to the communal hoard of “stuff” out there on the trail. In my experience, it’s more likely you’ll meet someone who needs something you just happen to have, than you’ll need it yourself – and it’s nice to be able to pull out a couple of aspirin, or a Benedryl and hand them to a fellow pilgrim in need.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you stock a 2-day supply of everything you can think of (or anything at all, for that matter), but it’s a useful compromise for those few things you feel compelled to keep close at hand.

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