Many times on the hit NBC weight-loss show "The Biggest Loser" the contestants will be forced to pick up a backpack that weighs the amount they have lost up until the point of the contest. After participating in an event with the pack on, many of them realize just how nice it is to not have all the extra baggage around them.

There is, of course, a difference between carrying a ton of weight on your back and carrying it on your body; the main being you can dump it to the floor when you get tired of wearing the pack.

Having dropped 81 of my own pounds to the floor in the last five months I'm feeling the euphoric effects of living a healthy lifestyle.

Two weeks ago, I pulled from my dresser drawer a pair of snowboard pants that barely fit when I purchased them eight or nine years ago. I was pleasantly surprised when I tried them on and they fit, and was excited that I would have something to wear for our family vacation to Klamath Falls and the surrounding area.

Our trip included two sledding trips, one on the ninth hole of the Running Y Resort's golf course and the other in the hills surrounding Mount McLoughlin near Lake of the Woods.

If the pants hadn't fit, it would have made for a miserable and wet experience. But they did fit, and we had a wonderful time.

Monday night brought 2 inches of fresh snow on top of a 4-inch base in the Klamath Basin and provided just enough snow for us ocean dwellers to enjoy. But, by Friday, rain had completely eradicated the sleddable snow and we had to head into the mountains to enjoy ourselves again.

Being able to hike to the top of the hill without having to stop every two steps for breath and being able to fit on the sled with my kids was reward enough for my weight loss, but the exhilaration of flying down the slippery slopes and not bogging down because I exceeded the tolerance levels for surface tension on snow was amazing.

Our trip also included some rock climbing, swimming, ice skating and hot tubbing.

Not being embarrassed by my mass was a plus when we went swimming.

Not sinking through the ice to the concrete surface below was a plus when we went skating.

Not having to refill the tub when I shifted from one sitting location to the other, or having my children float away on the flood as I got in, was a plus when we got in the hot tub.

And not having the hand-holds rip off the wall and become hand held when we went rock climbing was a plus when we went to the rock climbing gym.

Overall, our vacation was one of the best things that has happened to our family in the last eight years.

We were treated well everywhere we went. People were friendly at all of the retail establishments we frequented, and were anduuml;ber helpful while retaining the feeling of genuine interest in us.

If you're looking for something to do that isn't too far away, I would recommend a weekday trip to Klamath Falls.

A little sledding in the snow park just east of the Lake of the Woods turnoff; a little rock climbing at The Yeti's Lair; a little bowling at the Epicenter and a little lunch at Old Town Pizza in downtown K-Falls will have you feeling right as rain in no time.

All of the good experiences aside, what made it best of all was being able to enjoy time with my wife and four children.

My family made the trip wonderful. Weighing less than 290 pounds made the trip doable.