Monday, January 21, 2008

Gearing Up

The well-traveled Black Hole and Black Hole Too bags by Patagonia.

I've been hearing rumors that the weather in Moscow is going to be something like 20 or 30 degrees below zero. I've also heard that it's basically just fucking cold there. Frigid cold and lots of snow, basically the Apocalypse in White.

Thinking that I would be ill-prepared in my t-shirt and shorts, I ventured down to the local REI to see what was available and see how much I would need to spend as I "geared up" for this winter adventure.

I'm happy to report that I've pretty much got it covered.

About ten years ago, my friends and I were on this "outdoor adventure" kick. We were going to be the new Tenzig Norgays of the world. No wilderness was too wild and no mountain too high for our sights. We spent the next couple of years slowly piecing together our arsenal of tools and clothing to conquer just about any obstacle.

As luck would have it, the wildest our adventure ever got was the Kalalau Trail on Kaua'i - where I would find myself stranded at the two mile mark at Hanakapiai due to exhaustion, dementia and a pack that was just too loaded to be of use. Later, I would find myself at the summit of Mount Olomana on O'ahu at sunset with an absolute gorgeous 360 degree view of the island below - without a flashlight. Which meant slowly crawling down the 1,643 foot mountain with the flash from a pocket camera. To prove that I was capable of operating in cold, icy conditions, I made my way to the summit of Bradbury Mountain in Maine right after the ice storm of January 1997 (elevation 400 feet).

Perhaps those were not true demonstrations of my outdoor prowess.

Anyway... as I browsed through the aisles at REI, I realized that I already owned just about everything I'm going to need for this trip to Moscow. I've got the Patagonia Capilene underwear, the Capilene mid-layer, Columbia wind jacket, Arcteryx fleece vest and Columbia shell. Pair that with Patagonia shell pants, Smart Wool socks, Vasque boots, L.L. Bean Gaitors, Outdoor Research cap and North Face windstopper gloves. Maybe add on a pair of mitts and a balaclava, and I'm pretty much ready to go.

Of course, those don't address my wardrobe needs for dinner at a nice restaurant and clubbing afterwards with the ladies, but I hear that fur coats are cheap in Russia...

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