I Might Die in Canada
So the title may be a bit over dramatic, but with less than 48 hours before I hit the Great Divide Trail, I can’t decide whether I am going to burst with excitement or go down in a blaze of glory. There have been so many ups and downs over the past few months as well as changes to the hiking plan. Walmart, giveaways, graduate school, and a monthlong road trip have kept things interesting.
It has certainly been a crazy and transitional year in my life. With family moving across the country, I ended up working as a live-in assistant for a friend in exchange for room and board. While checking on pregnant sheep during the monumental Bomb Cyclone was an adventure in itself, overall it was a fun way to spend the last few months. To supplement my thru-hike savings account I snagged a temp job stocking produce at Walmart. Other than wondering how my college degree led to this and the odd hours, I quite enjoyed the work. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, especially if it leads to Mount Robson!
You know those gear giveaways that pop up on Facebook all the time? Enter your email and you will be subscribed to a whole bunch of mailing lists and never find out who wins, right? Well, can you imagine my surprise when I received an email saying I had WON one of those giveaways? I had to look it up to make sure it wasn’t spam because I had completely forgotten that I had entered.
I am so grateful to Chris with Greenbelly Meals for putting together the thru-hike giveaway that I won. It is all gear that I have been using, but never would have been able to afford on my own. Big thanks also to Hyperlight Mountain Gear, Altra, Cairn, Ombraz, and Montbell for including gear in the giveaway!
Thanks to this wonderful surprise I have some gear change ups: I’m now using the HMG Southwest pack (instead of my Gregory Deva), a Montbell puffy (I’ve never owned a puffy in my life), Altra Lone Peak 4.0 Mids (instead of my 3.5s, just for the first half), and a Biolite headlamp that came in my Cairn Obsidian Box.
In April I was pleased to receive my acceptance letter into the master’sof education program at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Woohoo! I am super excited to move down and start the program when I get back. Being the good little planner that I am, I checked the academic calendar to see when classes start before we got our permits. Well, silly me, I didn’t even think about the fact that I would have MANDATORY ORIENTATION! Gah. So now, instead of being back by Aug. 25, I need to be back Aug. 12. Sorry Carly! I guess we will be speed hiking and stealth camping.
I feel very fortunate to have spent the last month road tripping from Colorado to the PNW and back with my furry friends. It was so much fun hitting 11 national parks, walking the beach, and camping with the dogs. I am quite proud that I never paid for lodging, which is a good thing since I had car troubles in California. Unfortunately the downside is that I didn’t hike very much and I only had one day of turnaround time before the GDT. I was not smart enough to leave my sharps with Carly when I saw her in Oregon and I ran out of time to mail boxes. Basically, I feel like I’m winging it at this point. It’s fine.
But look at these faces. How could you say no to these faces!
First Leg of the Journey
So here I sit on the front porch of a hostel in Portland. It’s been a heck of a year, but I made it! I ended up making a Franken-Box to check my “sharps,” such as my trekking poles and tent stakes.
I was able to take a shuttle from Fort Collins to DIA so that I could leave my car with my friend. FYI, if you fly with six days of food, be ready for TSA to comb through your whole Ursack. Sorry, TSA lady! Otherwise, things have gone off without a hitch. I thoroughly enjoyed flying over the mountains and was able to successfully navigate Portland public transportation.
So I guess that’s it for now. The hard part is over, now I just have to walk. See you in Canada!!!
Andean Cat Fact
I was able to find an Andean cat mascot that will be making regular appearances along the way. It’s waiting to earn its trail name still.
Today’s Andean cat fact:
Andean cats are high-altitude specialists, found primarily between 9,500 and 16,000 feet above sea level.
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