Three days til departure … I’m ready to freaking get started! I’ve checked & re-checked my gear & all my food. I’ve organized all my resupply boxes and inundated Parker w/instructions and “suggestions” for our planned meet-ups. I’ve tested out my clothing, my tent and my sleeping bag. I’ve made reservations for town stops (and made sure they’re changeable if/when my plan changes), I’ve squared away my non-adventuring life, and even started a blog! All that’s left is to cache some water (see below) and get down to the border!
Though we’ve had lots of snow & rain this winter, and seasonal creeks & streams are reportedly flowing well, water continues to be my biggest worry. The good news is that this worry (unlike getting lost, bears and lightning strikes) is something I can mitigate in advance.
The plan is to drop water at the beginning/end of each passage (an average of ~20 miles, though they vary in length from 11 to 36 miles). I’m hoping to cover roughly one passage a day, so this should ensure I begin and end my days with water. We’ll get the first 10 sections before we start, and Parker will then do 5-6 drops every weekend after he re-supplies me (I’m submitting him for Husband of The Year again this year!)
Trail protocol holds that if you are caching water for a specific person, you put a name & date on the bottle … before that date other hikers will leave it alone; after the date, it becomes public water. The plan is to drop one gallon for me and one for other hikers at/near accessible trail heads. All passages are not accessible by vehicle/ short hike (I’m trying not to stress over those passages—but prayers for plentiful enroute sources are welcomed) and some passages start/end in towns or other guaranteed water source like a marina, or campground w/spigot, and I’ve decided to spread a couple of the longer passages over 2 days, which will require a few extra water drops … all told, we are planning to drop water in roughly 30 locations. Parker has made up labels w/a paraphrase of the refrain from an old Kingston Trio song ‘Desert Pete’ to stick on the water jugs:
“Drink all the water you can hold, wash your face, cool your feet, but leave some water here for others—Thank you kindly, Desert Pete”
I’ve been calling him Desert a Pete all week … he’s already got a trail name & we haven’t even started yet!