This morning I went for a longish walk in the sun, cool, windy, about 90 minutes, and I did it with my backpack on. I have not walked with my backpack for almost two years, since I shrugged it off in Santiago on 24 May 2007. This time I am training for a walk up Mount Mansfield in Stowe, Vermont. Stowe is about a four hour drive from Ottawa. The elevation at the summit is 4395 feet (1340 metres). I have been asked to join a group of Ottawa men who have been hiking together for over 20 years, so it’s quite an honour to be asked. We will be doing this in early June, about six weeks from now. It felt really good having the backpack on. That might sound a little strange, but it really did feel like an old friend. (This is the one I got in Pamplona). What I don’t know yet and will have to find out is the group’s protocol for hiking.