I haven't had the new pack on for a training hike. (Trying the pack on and wearing it around the house doesn't count!) So I loaded it up, put it on, and hiked around some of the mountain bike trails in the area. My base weight (pack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, ground pad, first aid kit, clothes, guide books, hygiene products,trekking poles, and camping supplies) is 20.6 pounds. A little heavier than I had wanted, since I still have food and water to add to the pack. But I'm sure I'll figure out what to get rid of once I hit the trail.
I gotta tell you, it felt GREAT!
In addition to a nice obstacle course, the woods provided me with other sources of entertainment and inspiration:
Some birds and animals (No pictures of them. They were too fast!)
After the hike I felt great! The boots felt good, the pack felt comfortable, and after just a tiny bit of adjusting, no pinching or pressure areas.
And best of all, I'm feeling a little less panic-y about the trail.
Now if I can just get the apartment packed up and the remaining work responsibilities taken care of!