Saturday, January 19, 2013


Ultralight is a term that refers to anything that involves coping with excess weight. The two most common topics that deal with excess weight is flying and hiking/camping. Ultralight aviation is the flying of lightweight - one or two seat fixed-wing aircraft - also called microlight aircraft in the UK, India, New Zealand and South Africa. In the late 1970s and early 1980s many people became involved with the hang gliding movement and began seeking affordable powered light aircraft. As a result - many aviation authorities established regulations and definitions for lightweight and slow-flying airplanes - thus opening up the door to ultralight and microlight aircraft.  In regards to camping and hiking - ultralight involves the same concept of utilizing very light weight materials for all gear. Light weight nylon tents replaced heavier canvas tents - as did lightweight aluminum and plastic poles for heavier metal ones. Today modern materials are incorporated in everything involved with camping and hiking - tents, poles, back packs, shoes, clothing and rain gear. To go one further - compressability also comes into play - how much space an item uses has also been re-engineered to allow for more lightweight items to be carried in smaller backpacks. According to Hilleberg The Tent Maker  - it is very possible for a camper to carry equipment easily in the neighborhood of 35 kilograms (60 pounds) up to 51.5 kilos (112 pounds). This involves literally everything one might need for a weekend or week long camping trip. Compared to this weight - when my wife and I walk The way of Saint James in Spain later this year for 6 weeks and some 790 Kilometers (500 miles) we will be carrying backpacks weighing about 7 kilograms (15 pounds) or less. To be able to walk day after day - some 13 to 18 miles a day - we need to be ultralight.
In Luke 9:3 Jesus told His disciples "take nothing for the journey - no staff, no bag,no bread, no money, no extra tunic". His disciples were to stick to the bare minimum - only what they were wearing - to rely on the kindness of those they met on their journey for food, lodging - anything they might need. They were the original ultralight trekkers! Of course - considering the climate of Israel - they did not need rain gear or much that a modern day hiker needs and they were not walking 800 kilometers. They did go - as sent by Jesus - obedient in  seeking to spread His Gospel message. On our personal pilgrimage - we who have been called - will not be walking alone - we will be walking at a time when thousands of others will be walking. In 2012 some 192,000 pilgrims walked The Way - in 2013 - we will be among them - walking by faith - not by sight - into the unknown - into the strange - with Jesus at our side.

Deacon Dale