Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One day to lift off

Saturday made me grateful for the many games of Jenga I've played which allowed me to stuff my Honda civic full of items that fit neatly together but collapse when you open the car door.  I would have taken pictures but my camera wound up as part of the puzzle.  I managed to break things up by going out to breakfast with my now former roommate and the formerly bronchitis infested friend mentioned in the Wapack trip blog post.  She gave me her deck of cards and some inspirational quotes to keep me moving.  After breakfast it was back to packing and cleaning and packing some more. By the time I thought I was ready to leave around 1:30, my roommate systematically pointed out all the crap I was forgetting about, tucked away in closets and our basement.  I tend to let things I don't use blend into the background and it was an especially bad example. Sorry Jose!

By 3:00 I was leaving Manch-Vegas in my dust and heading south for Grandma's house.  Arriving at 6:30 made for an even 12 hour day, followed by an encouraging dinner with grandma and what I suspect to be the source of my wanderlust - my Aunt and Uncle who have ridden motorcycles across more countries than I have useable toes or fingers.  They gave me a totem for my trip - a tiny Kodiak bear carving with an arrowhead on its back.   It's wrapped in a cloth in the big mesh pocket of my pack and every time my feet hurt and I start doubting myself, I'll be reminded of them. Here he is about to engage in deadly combat with a pencil (for scale).

Sunday morning I was on the road again, visiting two friends in Maryland who have recently joined the suburban ranks of the house-owning, job-going "adults".  By 2 pm my parents and their dog gave me a warm welcome and helped unload the overloaded civic (pretty sure I bottomed the shocks out a few times on I-95).  My mom made some amazing ribs and chocolate cake to fatten me up in preparation for the wasting away I will likely experience when I can't realistically shovel enough calories into my face every day for five months.

Since then I have been making runs to REI, the grocery store, a different grocery store and packing an arranging.  I also made a pair of shell mittens with mom with stuff from DIY gear supply.  It sounds funny but they're windproof, water resistant and have no insulation so I can wear them if it's too buggy or for sun protection for my hands.  If it's cold and windy they can go over my liner gloves and make a warm combo.

It's amazing how all the tiny things I left to the last minute added up.  I knew I had a bounce box but where would I send it?  If I send it full of food to one place that means it has to show up somewhere with a good grocery store to get a refill before I can send it to another location.  I also got some last minute jitters making sure I could actually get food where I want it.  The REI stop included buying an ice-axe leash but they didn't have grip tape so that meant a hardware store run.  The running store had socks but no callus file (gross I know!) which meant a trip to a makeup store.  Trader Jo's didn't have hand sanitizer, powdered milk and a few other things so that meant yet another store.  The zipper on my ULA pack broke and Chris, the owner, sent me a free replacement hip belt which was amazing of him. I think I've got things wrapped up now though. I'm glad its over and I can have today and tomorrow morning to spend with my folks. 

Stuff I might need mailed out, mostly just clothes but a tyvek groundsheet and my air mattress as well:

The bounce box/5 gallon deicing bucket!

Bear can, ice axe and other Sierra gear.  You might not see but the bear can is stuffed with 6 days of food.  I have no idea how people can fit 11 days in those things!

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