It has been crazy around here for the last few weeks. We have been pushing very hard to get ready for the trip. Ann is working from early morning until late at night; I help out where I can, given my work schedule. We now have all of our food needed for our five month adventure; it has been dehydrated, packaged, and sorted. Our 30 food drop boxes are nearly complete. They are still missing fuel, replacement clothing, and a few odds-and-ends. Some of the equipment we need to pick up is socks, shorts, water bags, and camera memory cards. The UPS and FED X trucks have been making daily stops to our house, delivering the last of the needed equipment we have ordered. New raincoats, tablet (to make viewing photographs and writing blog entries easier), MP3 players, and a Spot device which is a personal locater beacon used in case of emergencies. I will link the blog to the Spot location tracker, which will show where we are on the trail. Ann’s Sony camera also came last week. She has been practicing using it to film Joon during her diving lessons at UCSD. With only two more weeks to go before we leave, we still have a lot to do, however there is an end in site. Most of what is left to do is cleaning and preparing the house (which includes repairs from the tree falling on it) for the new occupants. Ann and I are looking forward to the day we leave to put an end to all the preparations.
We are working hard on getting our food together. So far we have half of our dinners, almost half of our breakfasts, and a long way to go with lunches. We are hoping to finish all the food well before our departure date.
On Sunday I was loading the dehydrator with trays of wild rice, chili, and sausage when I noticed that it was only blowing cold air. Upon closer inspection, I found that the heating coil in the dehydrator was not working. I emptied all the trays while Ann looked on line for a new dehydrator. We found one through Amazon for about $100 and ordered it. When it arrives we can get back to finishing the food for the trip.
We received some bad news, The Hikers Heaven will not be opening this year. Hikers Heaven is run by a family in Agua Dulce who would let the thru hikers stay at their house, pick up their packages, do laundry, and get showers. It was a very important location for everyone hiking the trail. It seems that the people who run it were accused of causing thru hikers to bunch up. Which is not true. The KOP does that. So instead of causing alleged problems they closed their doors. Now we have to come up with other plans. Instead of a food drop at Agua Dulce, we will be having one at Lake Hughes. Normally we would not go near Lake Hughes but the Powerhouse fire two years ago closed a section of the trail and to get around it we will hike right next to the Lake Hughes Post Office.
We filled out the paperwork for our passports cards. Next we will file them. For kids under 16, both parents have to go the filing office. Hopefully we can get this paperwork finished before we leave. We need the passport cards to get back into the US after finishing the PCT in Manning Park, Canada.
One of the most common questions we are asked is how do we get our food? There are several ways thru-hikers do this. They can buy their food along the way in the towns along the trail or they can mail their supplies to the towns that are too small to have a good selection and buy it at the towns that have full size grocery stores. Another way is to mail all your food. The last scenario is, hikers can resupply out of the hiker boxes along the trail. A hiker box is a surplus of supplies and food that other hikers have discarded. All towns along the trail provide one.
We will be mailing all of our food. There are four of us and buying that much food in the small towns would be very expensive. We can get exactly what we want, in the quantities we need at home. Some hikers buy prepared meals from hiking supply stores however, this becomes terribly expensive. We prepare our own meals from ingredients we buy at Walmart or Costco. Some of the meals are: spaghetti, basil orzo, vodka pasta sauce, egg and sausage burritos, rice and bean burritos, chili, chicken salad wraps. It is a lot of work to do this, but it is far cheaper. We have friends that will be mailing our “food-drop” to us as we hike. Since we live on the west coast, the mailing cost is a lot lower than for those who live else where. An advantage to mailing is that we can make changes to our boxes as we go. All it takes is a phone call.