I am one very lucky girl! I have been looked after and throughly spoilt in my few days before the start of the trail.
I had a small problem at US customs. I brought with me a bag full of food. Mostly mountain house meals (freeze dried food) and chocolate and sweets. I declared it and the man in the agriculture section was a right pain in the ass. You aren’t allowed to bring meat into America. Fresh meat I understand. Freeze dried meat that barely resembles meat in a packet with a shelf life of 5 years I don’t understand! The chicken ones were a problem for him, there is a risk of them carrying disease apparently. I was unaware freeze dried diseases were a problem. But, because he had no idea what chilli con carne or spaghetti bolognaise was, or how to pronounce them, after he had asked if they had chicken in – to which I said no – he said ok, you can take those.
Luckily the majority of the meals were beef based and only around 5 were chicken so I didn’t lose out too much.
He also asked me if my chocolate had meat in. My eyes were rolling to the extreme.
Ultimately customs wasn’t too painful and I was soon being collected by my friends Glendee and Doug, who helped me out last year at Snoqualmie pass. They have been truly amazing, driving me all over the place buying me food and letting me stay in their beautiful home in Ronald. They are helping me out with resupply and I had a bunch of stuff sent to them before I came out here (pre-brexit when everything was cheaper in the States than the UK! Not so much anymore). It was the perfect place to catch up with the time difference and relax a bit.
Therm-a-rest sent me a load of kit in exchange for using one of my photographs from last years hike and I spent some time testing it out, and lounging about. I love the hammock but it will take a bit of getting used to as the swinging makes me feel a bit seasick!
My highly impractical, ridiculous looking poncho which I love! Not really suitable for thru hiking though:
I went to the supermarket to get some food. The agony of resupply is still very real and I defaulted back to what I knew from last time. Wraps. Tuna. Cheetos. Goldfish. Welches fruit snacks. But I have the luxury of my cow based mountain house meals for a few days before I have to go back to ramen and instant mashed potatoes!
Glendee drove me all the way back to Seattle so I could visit Vince (my section hiking friend from last year), his wife Keri and son Kyle. It was so awesome to catch up with them again. Vince is well on his way to becoming a MYTH (a multi-year thru-hiker). We went for dinner and had a stroll through Mercer Island. These guys are so chilled, they leave me alone in their house and tell me to help myself!
I helped myself to the scales and I weighed myself (Vince said I should weigh my pack, I said I didn’t want to know!). I got pretty skinny at the end of last year, but I have worked really hard over the last couple of months to put some back on in preparation for the hike. I have put on about 6kg / 13lb / nearly a stone. I am pretty sure that half of it is from the last few days!! But I’m still lighter than I was at the start of the trail last year. Fatty. It’s surprisingly easy to put weight on very quickly.
The next morning Steady – who hiked the trail last year – came to pick me up and take me out for lunch before I had to get the Bolt bus. It was kinda weird answering the door to someone else’s house and seeing my friend there!
It was so lovely to catch up with her, even after all this time she can still remember the exact mileage of places on the trail! We went for Chinese food and I got the most perfect fortune cookie: Everywhere you choose to go friendly faces will greet you.
She made sure I got the the bus station and I hopped on the bus to Bellingham, a 2 hour journey north. Marvin, and his wife Sue, met me at the station. I met Marvin 3 times last year, and I can’t have spent more than about half and hour in total in his company, but he has still invited me into his home and offered to take me to the start of the trail. That’s how the trail works, these are the types of special bonds you create with people.
Marvin drove me around Bellingham so I could pick up a few last minute bits and pieces. Primarily a bit more sugar! And he also vacuum packed my food for me!
My first 6 days of food looks like this: 5 mountain house meals. Couscous. Emergency only ramen. 6 tortilla wraps. 6 string cheese. Salami. 6 hot chocolates. Fritos. Peach pie. Blueberry pie. Oreos. Red liquorice. Fruit chews. 6 flapjacks. 2 fruit snacks. 3 cereal bars. 6 chocolate biscuits. 2 bags of chocolate. A lot of jelly sweets. And an avocado, if I can find it.
Sue made a delicious dinner of salmon and vegetables – the most nutritious meal I will be having for a while!
I have absolutely loved my whistle stop reunion. Everyone has been so generous and so kind. It’s been the perfect start.
In the morning we set off for Harts pass and it finally begins!