The Birth of Super Ultra Lite
If you’re acquainted with long-distance hiking, chances are you know about trail names. Here is the piecemeal story of how I got the one I’ll be using along the AT this year.
July 17, 2013, 1:50am Birmingham, Alabama
My friend Ty drops me off at the Greyhound Bus Station in Birmingham. Notorious for big-hearted adventures and knightly shows of romance, Ty is the kind of guy to drive 10 hours from Birmingham to Chicago to simply be “in the neighborhood” of a girl he likes. It goes without saying, that while my mom viewed the three-day Greyhound bus voyage from Alabama to Northern California to join my girlfriend on the Pacific Crest Trail as a terrible cross-country booty call, Ty supported the idea immensely and immediately volunteered to drive me to the bus station at such an ungodly hour.
For the first time in my life, I have everything I need in a backpack: an extra change of clothes, tent, sleeping bag, water bladder, and enough bars to last me five days on trail until we hit a resupply.
I’ll be meeting up with my girlfriend, Doodles, as well as Scones and Guy on a Buffalo in Chico. Our plan is to hike together for 12 days, through Lassen, Hat Creek Rim, Burney Falls, and onto Castle Rocks, where I’ll head back to Alabama.
July 17, 2013 5:00pm Dallas, Texas
It appears that Greyhound has managed to loose my bag between Birmingham and Dallas. I’m staying over a day at my friend Bailey’s apartment to see if my pack comes in on the next bus. All I have now is a Walmart bag of snacks, my wallet and phone, a copy of Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut, and the clothes I’m wearing: a polyester Patagonia t-shirt I got from the Stumpjump 50K, a pair of underwear and synthetic cargo shorts, a pair of running socks, and the red Merrell shoes I bought one week ago.
July 19, 2013 10:10pm Los Angeles, California
Fucking hell. I haven’t slept in two days. My bag didn’t come in on the next bus to Dallas, so I opted to keep heading West with a bag full of sandwiches and a fully charged phone. The ride has been interesting to say the least. Epileptic guy had a seizure on the bus and we had to stop for medical help. In Arizona, boarder patrol pulled off a woman from Guatamala who had overstayed her visa, she and her two kids who were born in Tennessee. I don’t know what will happen to them.
About all I do know is that I’m ready to get of this fucking bus and stretch my legs along side Doodles on the PCT. Just a few more hours.
July 20, 2013 12:15pm Chico, California
She was waiting on the burning asphalt with matted strawberry-blonde hair and a two-week cultivated perfume. When I stepped off the bus, she nearly knocked me down, showering me with kisses that tasted like blueberries and chocolate. We walked hand-in-hand to the office window, and Greyhound still didn’t know where my pack is.
Right now we’re in Chico Mountain outfitters, and the plan is simple. I’m going to wait three more days for my pack, while Doodles, Scones, and Buff hike through Lassen. If my pack still hasn’t come by then, I’m buying a new one, a used sleeping bag, a Camelbak, and a long-sleeve t-shirt and heading out on the trail regardless.
July 23, 2013 3:25pm Road 44 near Old Station, California
Three days, no pack, so today I bought a 48-liter Osprey Kestrel, a two-liter Camel Back, a used Lafuma sleeping bag, and a tube of sunscreen. Aloha generously carted my around Chico and drove me up to where the PCT cross road 44. My plan is to hike south for a day until I meet the crew, then turn around and go 10 days north with them. Finally I’ll get to be with Doodles. Finally I’ll get to hike. Oh, and before I headed south down trail, Aloha gave me a trail name on account of my pack problems: Super Ultra Lite. My pack weighs eight pounds.
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Did you get your pack returned from Greyhound? If not, did you have to file a claim? Did you feel adequately compensated for your stuff. Could you have prevented the loss by watching the baggage when you changed buses?