My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness ... oh hi! Didn't see you there. I'm just immersing myself in the sadness of the demise of my oldest backpack: the big honking old Lowe's Alpine Systems internal frame job I got as a gift before heading off on my year abroad (in 1979!).
So no way am I complaining -- I've had all this pack could give. It's been all over Europe with me and on hundreds of miles of trails -- including about a fifth of the Appalachian Trail. And when ready to begin packing for the Lawson Trek I pulled it out for the first segment. Since I'll be traveling by canoe, I figured instead of my much more comfortable framed pack I'd take advantage of its saggy old capaciousness.
But the main zipper is broken. I'm sure there's a way to resolve it, but even Lifehacker failed me here, so I'm just moving on. And I have another sizeable(ish) internal frame -- an Eagle Creek job with a removable knapsack and all that. So I'lll be fine.
The thing is, when I opened up the old Eagle Creek, I found a couple old around-the-neck passport holders. Cool, but when I was poking around in the departing Lowe's, I found bootlaces and a ruined knife sheath. The Lowe's was used to roughing it with me, and I was hoping for one more trip together, so I'll miss it. I even had a place all picked out for the new patch it would get from the Lawson Trek.
It's not a particularly big deal, the death of a backpack, but it's a moment. The old saggy black beast squeezed through train aisles with me from Florence to Trondheim, hiked part of the South Downs Way in southern England and Hadrian's wall in the north.
It helped me through those awful early-twenties years when a new apartment or city always seems like it will solve your problems, and its cavernous main space always provided carriage for some last-minute item almost forgotten.
Its overstuffed profile, sagging almost to my knees (they hadn't quite got the hang of internal frames in 1979), became familiar to hiking partners and travel companions. A big-bag pack rather than a many-pockets pack, it gave me the excuse to mess with my gear for hours around the campsite every night, itself no small benefit, though I confess when I replaced it with a framed many-pockets pack I discovered I spent no less time fooling around with gear of an evening. I guess I'm just that kind of camper.
So anyhow. Farewell, big black bear of a backpack. Into the attic with you. The new patch will go onto the new pack. Perhaps someday I'll go back and pull the old patches off the black one and transfer onto something new. Until then the patches guarantee your survival, if not your utility.
See you when I get back