We have been doing a great deal of work getting all of our food boxes ready. Currently we have 30 food drops, so the entry of our house is lined with boxes full of food, maps, and miscellaneous equipment. We are mailing our food a little differently from the PCT. When we hiked the PCT we mailed all of our boxes from San Diego. We used paper boxes. In many cases these boxes had a lot of extra room. Most boxes weighted about 33 lbs filled with food and supplies for four people. This method was not a problem for drops in southern/central California, but as the food drops got farther north, it became very expensive to mail the boxes. Sixty to seventy dollars a box was the average price to mail to central and northern Washington. Since we are hiking this trip on a tight budget, we had to find a cheaper way to resupply. This year we will be using the largest priority mail boxes which ships at a flat rate of $18.85 per a box. Our big concern was how small the largest priority boxes are. Since there are four Ravens involved, our supply boxes are four times bigger than the average thru-hiker’s. We will need anywhere from 1 to 3 priority boxes for each re-supply point, especially for the longer six and seven day drops. Mama Raven spent a great deal of time re-packing each box, meticulously fitting every candy bar, trail mix, dinner, and misc. supplies inside the boxes. We eliminated non-essential bulky food items that could easily be purchased in the towns. To our amazement, she was able to get 4 days of food into one 12″x12″x5.5″ box. Our biggest food drops will take three boxes, luckily there are not too many of them. Nonetheless that is still cheaper than one big box.
Papa Raven has been busy going over our old gear, and trying to decide what should be replaced and what can be kept. Our biggest purchases has been a new sleeping bag for Bling, who has out grown his old one and four new backpacks to replace some very tired and worn out packs. There is something sad about switching to a new backpack after so many miles together. The old pack has been worn so much, it fits the body perfectly in all the right spots. It has traveled with you through the good and the bad. They become a close friend. Nonetheless, as the miles march on, holes and rips and fabric fatigue takes its toll on the pack. Ours are riddled with on trail repair jobs of duck tape and stitches of dental floss. Straps are fraying. Out of necessity, our old friends are being casted away for shiny new ones. Then there is the equipment we have never needed before, namely MICROspikes, snowshoes, and water proof socks. Having very little experience with this type of equipment, we needed to do a lot of research before we could decide on the right type. We choice MICROspikes for our crampons, MSR Evo 22 snowshoes and Dexshell water proof socks.
Another big job is getting our house ready. We will be having a family of five staying here while we are gone. They will be taking care of the cats, tortoises, and fish. We need to pack up all of our clothing and put the boxes out in the garage. Also a little maintenance needs to be done and then the house will be ready for them.