Upload & Sell: Off
Ben Horne wrote:
My pack weighed in somewhere between 85 and 90lbs, but it was comfortable.
You tell yourself that, but there is no way that a 85-90 pound backpack is "comfortable," Ben! ;-)
Back in the day (when, as I like to put it, I was foolish in different ways than I'm foolish today) I carried packs of 75 pounds and perhaps a bit more on two-week long backpack trips, including some solo trips.* The first day was always, quite bluntly, agony. On the second and third days I began to adapt to the agony, and after that things became less difficult. But it was never comfortable.
Yet, somehow, it was still worth it! In fact, aside from the burden of the pack, it has always been a "delightful" experience, even on (most) days when the physical challenges were extreme - such as schlepping that 75 pound load up and over 12,000' passes. One of the truly special aspects of backpacking to do photography is that one can more fully live in the landscape, sometimes for days on end, and slowly and carefully come to know portions of it that we might otherwise pass through too quickly.
By the way, do you know that Ansel frequently used pack animals to get to some of his most interesting back-country locations? Did I just plant a seed? ;-)**
*BTW: I'm older now - duh! But I still carry loads into the backcountry for up to perhaps 9-10 days of photography. However, now I have "reduced" my load to "only" perhaps 15 pounds of photography equipment, and I'm more likely to go in and, as I think you did on this trip, stay in one place for several days before moving on. I have also transitioned my backpacking gear in more or less the ultralight direction - though that effort is effectively counteracted by the photo gear!
**Near the end of this upcoming summer, for the first time in my life, I will succumb to an invitation from photographer friends to travel into a somewhat remote area of the southern Sierra by pack animal for about a week and half of photography. I've joined these friends before, though I've previously toughed it out and carried my own gear in my backpack. I think that my first slip was two years ago when they offered to take my food canister on one of the pack animals... and I gave in! Of course, the place we go to this summer - a location I've backpacked to before - is 15 miles in, over two almost-12,000' passes and then up and over one more ridge... in a single day.