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Archive for September, 2012

Pass the Beer

Snoqualmie Pass and beer – a perfect combination!  Once again I met up with Veggie and fellow thru-hikers for an afternoon of beer, home-baked goodies, fruit, snacks and lots of laughter and stories.  Yes, it’s me again, Veggie’s mom….I know, I  know, you want the real McCoy!  Trust me, Veggie is alive and well and though you can’t tell by her lack of posts, is nearing the finish line.  She asked me to post and to offer her apologies to you, dear readers.  She’s had quite the challenge with connectivity to send her blog posts, not to mention the long miles she’s been pulling and how afterwards, she just wants to collapse and chill.  The good news is that she has a mind like a steel trap and forgets nothing, so trust me, you’ll get the full trail story soon.

But for now, you’ve got me and more trail magic tales.  I had planned from the time in Oregon to meet up with her in Snoqualmie Pass, the point on the trail nearest to where I live.  The only tricky part was the timing, since we can only roughly determine where she’ll be and when.  Mostly I use the details from where I send her resupply boxes and track her average mileage between those spots to try to get an estimate.  Not always easy or accurate, considering trail conditions, her stamina and whatever distractions she meets up with along the way.   As luck would have it I had a brief text message from her about a day and time to meet at the pass.  We decided it might also be the perfect opportunity for her two Aunts who also live in the area, to see her in action in her favorite environment.  So, with a bit of planning we were off!  First I stopped by to pick up my sister Roberta at her place over here on the peninsula, then it was on to the ferry.  You don’t really get far from where I live without owing your life to the ferry system.  Then it was on to pick up the next sister, Gayle,  just a short hop from the ferry dock.  But we had a surprise in store for Veggie – Gayle brought her Chihuahua, Scodi, along for the ride!  Veggie loves animals and always asks me to bring my cat, Luna (who she picked out for me at the local shelter) on these jaunts, but really?  A cat on a road trip?  Though Luna is great in the car, it’s really not the same as for a dog.  Hence, we figured Scodi might fill the bill.  So, in went Scodi’s little bed, with him not far behind.  He’s a great traveler and good company and I knew it would bring a smile to Veggie’s face.

The road up to the pass was wonderful – not much traffic and weather conditions were perfect.  Now, if Wilson, my car, liked climbing hills, all would really be perfect.  Alas, we just putzed along in the slow lane knowing we were well ahead of schedule anyway.  From my last trail magic post you realize it is not always easy to find the trail as it crosses roads and it isn’t always easy to even find locals who can help point the way, so we had arranged with Veggie to meet at the local Summit Inn.  Luckily, with so few facilities up that way, it was easy to spot.  She had also told me to keep my eye out for Dead Animal, who has been kind enough, once he was injured and unable to complete the hike, to follow along for the most part in his car and offer support, ie, slack-packing, food, beer, etc.  I was to look for a blue Neon.  Well, didn’t spot anything matching that description in the Inn parking lot, so we decided, after the last meet up fiasco, to drive around a bit, just to make sure we actually were in the right spot and not off-base by a half mile or so.  It soon became obvious that there was nothing more, but it did offer us an opportunity to check out some of the lovely homes built around the rather lame looking ski facilities.

Heading back to the Inn lot we instantly spotted a blue Neon that just had to be Dead Animal’s car.  What gave it away?  Hmmmm….possibly the fact that it was covered in dirt and crammed full of hiker paraphernalia.  We parked, ate our lunch and awaited seeing someone come to the Neon who looked like a “Dead Animal”.  Soon enough a guy shows up with messy hair under a hat, a scraggly beard, scruffy shirt, shorts over leggings – had to be hiker trash!  He stood next to the car talking with a cute, young women who also had a distinct hiker appearance.  I promptly scooted over to them and asked the guy, “Are you Dead Animal?”.  With a great big smile he said yes, so I introduced myself as Veggie’s mom, aka Penguin.  The young woman was Pinkie, with whom Dead had hiked previously and who had done most of the PCT last year, but had to stop at the WA/OR border.  She was back, along with Sticks and Ahab, to section hike WA to complete her thru-hike.  We chatted, I learned how they got their trail names and compared notes about Veggie while I offered them beer and goodies and introduced them to the Aunties and Scodi.  Turns out Dead had been at the campsite the evening before, where former thru-hikers had lots of wonderful trail magic.  He knew Veggie got up at 5 A.M. and took off by 5:45 to try to meet us at the Pass around 1 PM.  She had 18 miles to hike, but at least was slack-packing, thanks to Dead (hence all the gear in his car).

Around the appointed time I looked down the road and there came Veggie!  I quickly hoofed along to greet her with a big hug and kiss, despite the distinct hiker aroma.  Ah, who but a mom could love that?  With a big grin she walked up to the car, threw down her pack and poles and hugged her Aunties and was thrilled to see little Scodi.  With a beer and blonde brownie in hand she plunked down onto the pavement to relax and catch up.  She hadn’t met Pinkie and friends yet, so they did the usual hiker credential comparisons and just enjoyed being together in such a beautiful spot – the mountains were looming all around us, the sun was shining, the temperature was moderate and the beer and food plentiful.  What more could you ask for?

As the afternoon wore on, other thru’s came wandering in….among them were Hop-a-long, who, with a smile, said “thanks, mom!, when handed beer and goodies, Scout, Knees, Agassi, Snow Turtle, Blood Bank, Tahoe and a few others.  There was an amazing amount of magic, as some of Blood Bank’s family, who live somewhat locally, came with lunch in tow, and then, the magic makers from the previous evening drove up with “leftovers” to share, as well as another trail magic person, Thai Kitchen, who brought beer and food.  A bounty for certain!  What a joy it was to just sit and listen to their tales, to hear what drives them, to see their excitement as they are nearing the finish line of the trail.  That day they had all passed the 2,400 mile mark – just over 260 miles to go!!

And so, readers, hang in there!  Veggie will soon be back to telling her story of a life off the beaten path.  I know she’s pleased you enjoy following along with her, each in your own way, wherever in the world you live and dream.  She’s definately living her dream.

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The Standing Stone Brewery, where we ended up at in Ashland, was excellent and I ate copious amounts of food with good beer.  When we realized that the hostel was full, we had to hitch three miles back to the interstate, where all the cheap places to stay were located.  In the process, we encountered the local squatter population which seemed to want to take us in as their own since we were dirty, had backpacks, and therefore must not have any money to stay anywhere or buy our own food.

“Hey! You look like me!” one guy said walking by with a non hiking backpack.  Hmmm….how do I say this…no.

“Hey!  You know, the best squatting is down by the bridge!” Another one said.

“Thanks, but we’ll take a cheap motel instead,” Hop-a-long said.

We ended up having to call a taxi since everyone kept confusing us for the squatters begging for food near us, one of which had a sign that read, “Divorced Bigfoot…anything helps.”

Once we got there, Hop-a-long, Trooper and I split a room in the cheapest motel, the Relax Inn where we were put in the very end room, right smack next to the interstate.  The room reminded me of my freshman dorm room at college complete with concrete blocks and the owner dude watering the same flower bed for 30 minutes to watch us air our sleeping bags and put sink laundry out to dry.

After resupplying the next day, we somehow managed to spend most of the day eating, sleeping, and sending food places.  All in all, it turned into an inadvertent zero day.  We did not realize that until we found ourselves wanting food and noticed it was dinner time. Handily, a decently priced Mexican restaurant was located behind the motel, so we went there and ended up finding Splinter and Scooter who had hitched back to Shasta to climb it, then hitched back to Ashland, then Spins and Baboon.

Hop-a-long and I managed to get back on trail by noon the next day while Trooper waited for Funk to show up, who had gotten a day behind.  We also saw Tahoe and Taka at the trailhead and we leapfrogged them for the rest of the day.
At that point, Oregon did not seem too different from California: smokey from the nearby fire, dry, some sand, and a big fat rattlesnake.  Hop-a-long had boogied right by and it slithered out of the way to my right without rattling, but still managed to make me jump back, then ease closer to get a better look and see if I could get a good picture of it.  The thing must have been three and a half feet long!  Crazy!  I hadn’t seen a rattler in a while, just lame little garter snakes.

All four of us took a break by a spring that had a spigot.  Distrustful of random spigots in the middle of absolutely nowhere, we all treated it, and why not…the sawyer squeeze filter is so easy!

That night, Hop and I made it a little past a small highway and set up our tents in the most flat patch we could find, which wasn’t that great, but I slept fantastically anyway because the extra warmth of the tent blocked the breeze.  I reveled in having the extra two or two and a half pounds that my MSR Hubba offered.  I could definitely notice the weight change though.  Bye bye tarp!

I saw Tahoe in the morning as he packed up and we chatted for a wee bit as we took the newly rerouted PCT which seemed to add half a mile to go around the west side of a large hill instead of the east side.  Hop-a-long decided to cut off two miles by walking the dirt road instead, so I did not see her until lunch, where we also found Indiana Toad and Chocolate Chipmunk.

At the next water, I sat down to filter it when none other than Little Brown walked up heading sobo.  I had met him at the 501 shelter in Pennsylvania on the Appalachian Trail.  He had major knee surgery and the doctor told him not to thru-hike this year, so he decided to section hike.  Good spirit!  His knees seemed to hold up well and he told Tahoe and I a few stories with emphatic gestures.  He also gave us the important information that the last spring on the way into Crater Lake Mazama Village was dry.

We passed many small roads the whole day until we came upon Dead Animal with his blue Neon, a cooler of beer, and a five gallon bag of box wine.  We promptly sat down, drank a beer, and complained about how our feet hurt.  All three of us checked out the map and realized that the Brown Mountain Shelter (super weird to have a shelter on the PCT) was less than three trail miles away and .2 from another paved side/back road.  At the end of 26 miles, we hoped in the car and went the 2.8 miles up to the next road, then walked south to the shelter with arms full of food, beer and boxed wine.

The only person there was Little Steps, who had given us rides to and from the trail at the Anderson’s Casa de Luna (mile 478).  She was super excited to camp with other thru-hikers since she hadn’t in a bit.

Hop-a-long and I annihilated a large box of lettuce, some cookies, and any other food we could find, while entertaining ourselves with a trail register.  Her, Dead Animal, Tahoe, Little Steps and I began a game of “Slap the Bag” in which one person holds the five gallon wine bag for someone to slap and drink from above them.  Little Steps even joined in our little shenanigans…and she’s 60!

After dark, Scooter rolled in and before he could even get his pack off, we made him chug some delicious box wine, then stuck a beer in his hand.  He had a grin from ear to ear.  A wee bit later, Inspector Gadget rolled in and got the same treatment.  This went on until the five gallons was gone and we blew the bag back up with air to use as a pillow.

The morning was a little rough, but we managed to make it back to Dead Animal’s car where he cooked us all breakfast while we hovered in the little sunlight that poked through the trees.  It seemed as though fall had begun to set in since the nights became significantly colder and the days got significantly shorter.  Dead took all our stuff up to the road 10 miles later to Fish Lake so we could slackpack across the lava.

Despite the lava, the trail actually had such amazing construction that a great amount of dirt had been brought it so as not to roll your ankles with every step over sharp lava rocks.  The miles whizzed 0n by and we were back at Dead’s car before we knew it.  There,  we cooked lunch and Hop-a-long whipped up an amazing sautéed vegetable, soy chorizo mix to cram into a tortilla for easy mass calorie intake.  The boys cooked bratwurst.

Unfortunately, no roads crossed the trail in the next 51 miles to Crater Lake, so we had to take all our stuff there where Dead Animal said he’d be the following day.  Inspector Gadget set off first on the challenge at 2pm, then Splinter at 3pm, and finally I left at 3:30pm.  Hop-a-long was battling a giant brain crushing headache combined with an obnoxious back rash from her pack, so she hopped up to Crater.

Twelve miles up trail, after scaring some day walkers, I found Gadget at the first water where we cooked dinner.  I had surprised myself flying up that first climb when I was so un-motivated.  We only managed two more miles or so after that and crashed out on a  side trail thinking no one else would hike that.

I was pretty determined the following day to make it to Crater Lake despite it being 36.3 miles away.  I went for it.  Up by 4:30am, hiking by 5:15am, and in almost all my layers because I walked all over a windy ridge.  The morning miles flew by pretty well, until I hit the 1800 mile mark and plopped down in the sun to grab a snack.
The only notable feature of the day was Devil’s something or other which had these sweet rock features going all over the place.  Why is anything crazy awesome have “devil” in the name?

On the way down, about 15 miles in, I ran into Scooter right after he finished digging a cat hole.  That was the only time I saw him that day until Crater.  From there, I went in six mile-ish segments all the way to Crater Lake.  I had begun to get tired, so I chugged some Crystal Light Energy (aka crack).  My feet had also begun to hurt for no apparent reason, so I took my socks off and that seemed to help significantly.

I hit the road at 7:50pm, found a tall boy beer Dead Animal had left, chugged it and walked deliriously into “town,”  ready for an entertaining evening.
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I’m not dead, I swear!  Just haven’t had time to update, so here it comes!

Near Seiad Valley, three fires had sprouted.  Only one affected the PCT: the Fort Complex Fire (formerly the Goff Fire).  It burned on the steep 5,000 ft climb out of “town”, closing some fifteen miles of trail or so.  While we sorted food after waiting for the post office to open, super thick smoke settled down in the valley, irritating my eyes so much, I went and bought eye drops.

Bruce said the afternoon heat would bring the smoke back up high around 2pm or so and we’d have an easier time waiting until then to leave, so we stalled.  This fire still had a walkable detour option: walk down Seiad Creek Road (paved, for 3 or 4 miles) which turns into Forest Service rd 48N20 (maintained dirt road) until Cook and Green Pass where the PCT crosses it.  The detour was about 13 miles of shade, blackberries, and a creek running next to it.  It still climbed almost the same amount, however seemed easier than the trail would have been.

I decided to walk it, but most got a ride up that they yogi’ed from the store.  It wasn’t too bad and I got some great views of the smoke blocking out the sun.  At the pass, I camped with Sea Hag, Robo Knee, and Heisenberg.  Hop-a-long, Trooper, Inspector Gadget, Extra Credit, Cactus, Doe Eyes, and Scrub Rat found rides and passed me.  One guy driving up the road offered me a ride, but when I declined, he gave me a bottle of ice water.

Robo Knee and Sea Hag woke up at 5am and I got up too, scrambling around in the dark since I failed to locate my headlamp that I thought I had forgotten in Seiad Valley.  I caught up to Hop-a-long and Inspector Gadget at the first water source after passing Doe Eyes and Scrub Rat.  No one seemed to make it very far after the detour, probably because it shot up another 1400 feet immediately.

We cruised along the ridge, trying not to choke on the smoke wafting over the adjacent ridge.  The heat from it had kept me warm the previous night, but Hop-a-long said she could see the flames from on top of the climb when it got dark.

Eleven miles later, we hit the next water source which was a beautiful large flowing spring and I stopped for a quick lunch.  I had just missed Trooper, but caught Hop there again.  The trail just made lots of small bumps up and down in order to mostly stay on top of the ridge.

Then finally, the climb we’d all been waiting for came – the climb to Oregon.  Halfway up was the border, where I found Hop-a-long, Trooper, and Inspector Gadget.  The four of us celebrated at the border with wine, whiskey, and food.  We spent quite a long time there, ironically on the California side since it had the trail register and a log that sat somewhat in the shade.  I took various pictures attempting to get my amazing Teva sandals in the photos but ended up rolling over by accident because the border was on a slant.
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After our long break, we passed mile 1700 and headed on to Sheep Camp Spring which had a great pipe coming out full of water.  The “campsite” came complete with a resident deer which did not stop eating despite me setting up camp and getting water.  Soon, Gadget, Hop-a-long, and Trooper rolled in.
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Promptly, Trooper did a few more miles while we stayed there only to see Trip roll in right before we went to bed.  He had hitched up to Ashland to get a wisdom tooth removed that had suddenly caused him great amounts of unnecessary pain.
“Yeah, I went into the dentist and he said it was one of the easiest ones to pull out,” Trip said as he rolled a cigarette.
“Ya know,” Hop-a-long started, “you really shouldn’t be smoking after a wisdom tooth gets pulled, have you heard of dry sockets??”

“Eh, it’s fine.”
That night, I froze.  Luckily, I had a tent in Ashland, my next town stop.  I had no problem waking up at 5 am and leaving by 5:30, saving breakfast for an on-the-move slamming a bar.  The 23 miles into Ashland was actually pretty easy.  Annnnd, on the plus side, I could charge my iPod in town, so I jammed out to music the whole way.  12 miles out, I saw a trail runner heading toward me and I realized it was Ben who had given me, Creep and Twister a ride into Etna.  He asked when I would reach Callahan’s, and I said 2:30.  He said he would meet me there and give me a ride into town instead of hitching on the on ramp of the interstate.

The trail down to Callahan’s cruised right on down.  Callahan’s even made a side trail down to them where they had a carved wood sign advertizing one free beer.  I wanted beer super bad, so I followed the obnoxious green spray paint.  Scared by the horses which came out of no where, I found a way to get to the side of the trail while they passed, leaving fresh shit in the middle of the trail on the way.

Callahan’s had absolutely nothing going on, but I got a free Deschutes Porter anyway and bought Ben the trail runner a beer in order to see if Hop or Gadget would make it in for a ride.  They  didn’t, so I got a ride into the Post Office where I loaded all my food and tent into my pack and mailed back my tarp and other unnecessary items.

I waited until Hop-a-long, Gadget, and Trooper got there, and then we made moves toward the brewery in order to decide what to do.

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Mom Trail Magic

For the first time while Veggie’s been hiking the PCT I met up with her and fellow hikers in the Bend, Oregon area, bringing the ubiquitous trail magic.  Read:  BEER!  That way I knew having mom show up would be a welcome sight.  And thanks to Veggie’s dad, I was well-funded to purchase plenty for the ever thirsty hikers.

I drove the 7+ hours from Seattle down to Sisters, OR.  Went to fill up the car with gas and was taken aback by an attendant coming to pump the gas – didn’t realize that Oregon is like New Jersey and doesn’t let you pump your own.  So, figuring the attendant was a local kid I asked about finding McKenzie Pass, wanting to make sure I knew where I would find the hikers crossing the road.  Well, he says, go about a quarter-mile and turn right, follow around past the school and go up the mountain.  About how far?  I inquired?  Hmmmm, he says.  Guess he’s not an outdoorsman.  So, off I went looking for a sign telling me it was the PCT crossing.  Now, I’m not totally new to this, as I’d tracked Veggie down along the AT several times, so I know that some crossings are better marked than others and some not really at all.  I came up to a rather prominent road sign stating “Lava Camp Lake/Millican Crater Trail/Pacific Crest Trail, so I think, voila!  I’m in the right spot.  I pulled over into a nice sized area on the side of the road and commenced waiting, since, as usual, I was early.  Ho hum.  I read.  I noshed.  I wandered around.  I found a discarded piece of cardboard with “PCT Hiker” hand scrawled on it laying under a rock, so I thought, yes!  this is the right spot.  Well, 3 hours later and nary a hiker in sight and with absolutely no cell service, I began to wonder.  Finally, I decided that perhaps I ought to drive on a bit further to see if I’m truly in the right place.  And in just a half mile I found Veggie, waving her arms atop a pile of lava alongside the road across from some big lava rock observatory.  That was the trail crossing.  Luckily, she had only been waiting about an hour, but was worried, as she knows I’m always early.  Alas, I parked the car, opened up the beer coolers and all was well!

Along with Veggie was her delightful companion, Hop-a-long, with Inspector Gadget in tow as well.  We chatted and they ate and drank and were ever so happy to be off the lava fields after many miles of crossing that inhospitable terrain.  They looked fabulous, though the distinct thru-hike odor might be off-putting to the uninitiated.  Dirty from head to toe, but fit as fiddles, without an extra ounce of fat anywhere.  Oh, to be so lean!  To be able to eat so indiscriminately!  I had baked for several days, bringing Veggie the requested vegan muffins (cinnamon swirl and blackberry), vegan jumble cookies, vegan brownies, and loads of chips with salsa and hummus, fresh fruit and veggies and hard-boiled free range eggs.  A vegan hikers delight!  They ate and drank their fill, then we rearranged all the stuff in the car, stuffed in their packs and all of us and off we headed to Bend.

A charming town, but rather spread out, so it was good to have a devoted car and driver.  Our first stop was REI so Gadget could pick up a box he’d mailed to himself and the others could check out gear they’d been dreaming of.  Veggie hemmed and hawed but finally decided to splurge on a new light weight tent.  Ah….the lure of new gear!  We checked in at a local motel with the girls delighting in the shower, even though the shower head looked like it had been situated for children rather than adults and that’s saying something, since Veggie stands a mere 5’2″.  Cleaned up they were ready to roll to visit a local brewery.  It helped that I don’t care for beer, so didn’t mind being the duty driver.  A few beers later and we were all exhausted and ready to hit the sack.

The next morning they separated their gear, leaving most of it with me so they could slack-pack that day.  Off we went back to McKenzie Pass, and now that I knew where to stop they were out and ready to hike for the day in no time.  I waited there a bit, as they had expected another hiker to come along, but after a few hours and no sign of anyone I headed off to Santium Pass, their destination for the day.  Luckily, I had seen the signs for that trail head on my way into Sisters the day before and I worked out with them exactly where I’d be.  The trail head was a nice parking area, complete with a sani-can and even a trash can.  No real shade to speak of considering every tree around was burnt out.  Not exactly a delightful vista.  But I parked, pulled a cooler of beer and snacks out and with “PCT Thru’s” written on it, and placed it by the trail.  It amused me no end watching day hikers or others who stopped by look at the cooler, some even stopped to lift the lid and check out the contents, but amazingly, no one took anything.  I wasn’t there long before a pick-up truck pulled up and a hiker hopped out and started pulling his pack out of the back.  Definitely a thru-hiker.  He yipped for joy when he saw the cooler, grabbed a beer and then saw me.  He introduced himself as “Styles”, who I didn’t recall Veggie mentioning before.  He had met a nice local guy, Nate, at the Sister’s BBQ place, and he was kind enough to put him up for the night and bring him to the trail.  He had a great dog with him, Gus, who amused us chasing sticks.  I plied them with goodies and asked if there was anything else he needed.   He finally admitted to having a few mending issues.  Well, I happened to have some sewing things with me, as I had done Veggie’s mending the night before….there’s always something that needs mending, so a small sewing kit never goes astray while providing magic.  Turns out the side pouches on his pack had rips, so I had him plop the pack on the hood of my car and began to stitch them up.  Not pretty, but definitely serviceable, and no more holes for him to lose things out of.  Patched up a bit of the pack zipper while I was at it and his down jacket lining, as well.  Too bad I didn’t need a haircut, as he said he gives cuts along the trail to help fund his way.  Pretty savvy.

But after that bit of a visit, the trail remained quiet.  I finished the book I had been reading and was just thinking of dozing off when I heard voices.  Lo and behold, there was Veggie and Hop-a-long!  Boy, were they happy they had been able to slack pack since they said the lava fields were dreadful to cross that day.  Their black feet told the story.  But the good news to celebrate that day was them crossing the 2,000 mile mark!  Woo hoo!!  Not long after they arrived a few more members of the hiker trash community showed up – Gadget, Tickled Pink (who I would have thought would be a girl with that name, but no), Blood Bank (yes, a girl) and Last on the Bus, or LB.    Veggie and Hop-a-long had just met them, so as they drank their beer they compared what I consider their “hiker credentials”….who had hiked what trail and when.  Amusing hearing the stories and seeing who and what they had in common.  After a while, the girls decided it was time to get a move on and we packed up and headed back to Bend.  I was hoping to convince them to stay in Sisters (22 miles less to drive one way) but they wanted to head back to Bend.  We stopped at a Ross store where Veggie found a new top and a short skirt to sport over her leggings that I had brought, now that it’s getting colder.  Thanks to Happy Cow we found a charming little restaurant and had great falafel pitas for dinner, then crashed back at the Rainbow Motel.  Since I hadn’t slept well the night before, I z’d out right away while the girls lazed around.  The morning didn’t find them moving any faster.  Apparently, they tend to get up and get moving rather quickly on the trail, but not so much in town.  Hours later, after much shifting around of gear, loading up with days of supplies (I had brought Veggie’s supplies with me, saving me from mailing one more box), complaining about how much they had to carry, etc, they finally were ready to leave.  We stopped in Sisters for some resupply for Hop, some much needed coffee for me and we were on our way back to Santium Pass.

The girls were delighted that Cookie Monster, whom Hop had hiked with back east and on the CT, where Veggie met the two of them, decided he could take a few days off from work and drove from Portland to meet up with them.  The three of them chatted and laughed, compared gear and supplies, ate and drank and finally, about 1:30 PM decided it was time to hit the trail.  Off they went while I packed up the last of the stuff strewn around and I headed north back to Seattle.

Locked and loaded

It doesn’t get better than this – having a chance to see your daughter in her element, enjoying life to the fullest, with wonderful companions who love the outdoor life as she does.  At times I moan and groan as I have yet another resupply box to prepare and send off, new stuff to try to track down (not always easy with vegan stuff), gear to shift out, and as I trip over all the supplies in my small storeroom, but I wouldn’t trade it all in for the world.  Guess it pays to have a logistics specialist as your mom if you live life as a thru-hiker.

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