Last-Minute Prep: WA Resupplies and Transportation
The thing about hiking SOBO is you need to manage a whole lot of logistics upfront. Most importantly, you need to buy nearly all of the food you need for the entire state of Washington, separate it into ~5 boxes, and mail them all before you even get to the trail. This is all with the assumption that you will be accurate in your daily mileage estimate from Day 1. Despite backpacking 800+ miles last year, I’m almost positive I’ll have too much food, but that seems like a better idea than having too little to start.
Despite the logistics, I do appreciate prepping my resupplies in advance, particularly when it’s easy to include ingredients and snacks that are easiest bought online, like my favorite gluten-free Honey Stinger stroopwaffels and freeze dried blueberry powder to make my breakfasts taste delicious. With a double whammy of dietary restrictions (gluten-free and pescatarian), it can often be a struggle to find nutritious foods to resupply with in tiny towns. I’m also a cold soaker (out of sheer laziness regarding camp chores), so it’s nice to know in advance that my meals will have some variety and taste decent (note that I do not say delicious).
Since I have to fly to Seattle, I kept going back and forth on what to put as checked baggage. I am too attached to my pack to feel comfortable throwing it into the underbelly of a plane, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to check the gear the TSA wouldn’t be so thrilled to find. When I booked my flight, I made sure to choose Southwest, since checked bags are free, which will save me a bit of money over other airlines. I opted to grab a cheap cardboard box from Home Depot, cut it down to size, and use that to hold my trekking poles, ice axe, microspikes, and tent poles. I padded it with my food, and it should work great for the airport. Plus, I can immediately break down the box and recycle it once I get to Seattle.
Another big logistics question for SOBO PCT hikers is how to get a ride to Hart’s Pass. I have friends in Seattle who will be picking me up from the airport and hosting me for a night, but the drive to Hart’s Pass is more than 4 hours from Seattle. As generous as my friends are, I was not about to ask any of them to spend 8 hours round-trip taking me to the trailhead.
This is where Facebook groups become a godsend. Through the various PCT groups, I found a group of Trail Angels in Washington that organize daily rides to Hart’s Pass. I was able to organize a ride from a Seattle friend an hour north, where I will meet up with a Trail Angel (and other hikers), who will drive me the rest of the way to Hart’s Pass.
It’s not too long now before I will be on the trail. I’m especially thankful that most of the snow has melted and that I missed the truly debilitating PNW heat wave of late June. Here’s hoping the weather stays mild!
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