Alban – you are correct: Trevor should get extra cheese!
He doesn’t read the blog (though he initially set it up!) so I can say a few nice things about him here without him getting an inflated ego 😀
Hiking as a couple comes with more pros than cons (only con that comes to mind is keeping the tent grass&mud free when sharing with a man is a tall order!). The pros are plenty: You are in the company of your best friend and the person who knows you best, it helps to get you through the tough times and it makes the good times even sweeter. You don’t have to find reception to phone home. You don’t have to explain to your partner that it’s really too early to give an expected finishing date. And – best of all, chores are shared.
Solo hikers have to pitch and break up their tents (unless they are shelter rats – a blog about them later), do their own water (fetch it, sometimes streams are as far as half a km off the trail, then filter/purify it), cook, wash-up, do their laundry, plan their meals and do the shopping.
Couples (there aren’t many) can share the duties. And sorry feminist friends: the duties roughly follow traditional gender roles, because I might be Trevor’s equal intellectually and mentally, but physical he is much stronger than me.
Trevor carries out tent and our footprint (Princess Jozi insisted on a footprint, it protects the tent, and gives insulation when it is cold or wet). That is probably 2kg he carries which I get the shared benefit from. He also pitches the tent at night (when we arrive at stop over site too tired to stand up straight) and break up camp the next morning. Being in charge of our accommodation earns him a wheel of well matured brie.
He is also in charge of IT. He carries 2 (very heavy) power banks and several cables and plugs. His little IT bag must weigh another 2kg. This enables us to be on the top of a mountain in a tent and charge out phones and watches – every night. It is also one of the reasons we have to be in a lodge/hotel once a week, to get the power banks charged. For fulfilling this duty I would say a fat chunk of Gruyery is deserved.
Lastly he is our pace setter and navigator. I will give him some strong Cheddar for this.
All in all he carries more than half the load of responsibilities and I would have never managed to get this far on my own. Where as he would have managed fine without me, though his life would have been less organised 😀.
In the evenings I do the cooking (elementary) and cleaning up, in the morning I pack out meals and snacks for the day so it’s easily accessible at stops, I fetch the water (while he makes or breaks the tent). I am in charge of finding accommodation when we sleep over in towns. I do the laundry when in town.
My biggest contribution to the partnership is planning our nutrition. Firstly one has to study the route book to see how many days before your next shopping opportunity (which require you to estimate how far you will walk per day, which require you to understand the terrain and ascends and descends between two shopping points). When in town you have to look at shopping options, bigger towns have grocery stops which allow one-stop-shopping, in smaller towns you may have to go to the convenience store and the garage shop and the outdoor- outfitter to get all you need. You cannot go with a shopping list, it’s not a matter of finding what you are looking for, it is a matter of choosing from what is available. And the choices need to be based on getting max calories and variety for least weight and space, in a range of items that can serve as breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
I think if Trevor was hiking without me he would have bought a kg of cheese and a pack of Snickers in each town and lived off that 😀