Into the Mountains

There haven’t been any updates in awhile because we’ve been out of 3G range and haven’t had any good WiFi options lately.

We are finally in the mountains, after 700 miles in the desert!  We’ve spent a couple days in Kennedy Meadows resting up.  Tomorrow, Saturday, we’ll climb about 2000 feet.  It should be a hot one.  We are really looking forward to the cooler mountain weather, which we should start to see in a few days.

We spent an extra day in Kennedy Meadows in order to wait for Jen’s headlamp.  We lost it on the trail, but heard through the grapevine that the hiker Doodles may have found it.  Doodles arrived in KM today, and sure enough, she had Jen’s headlamp!  We were so relieved!  Thank you, Doodles!

In the next section of the trip, we have to be careful of bears, so we each have a bear canister in which to put our food.  They add a lot of weight to our pack, but it’s worth it to have the protection.


Jen has more updates in the queue, but until we get better service, you’ll just have to wait to hear how we got here.  She has a really good picture of the hailstorm we ran into – on her birthday, of all days.


Home stretch (of prep)

Even with weeks of time off before the big trip, we weren’t sure if we would have time to get everything ready AND say our goodbyes to everyone. But we made it – just barely.

Goodbye highlights included:
• A twins game with 2 of our best BL buds (the 3rd bud had to work on a Thursday, can you believe that?)
• An Easter celebration with my family that introduced our nephew to his church. Jen and I were honored to be godparents.
• A goodbye dinner with Jen’s family and my parents. Jen found it hard to say goodbye, but her excitement for the trip helped ease the pain.
• A Final Four party a friend hosted the weekend before we left (besides an annual party, he also hosts an annual NCAA bracket, nicknamed Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.) The party was a great way to say goodbye to a lot of friends without having the added pressure of hosting a party. And to top it off, I was 2 baskets away from winning the Triple Crown of the 8th annual WWCD! I won the bracket challenge and the game ball, but Jen beat me in the hoops tourney. At least we kept it in the family! The Zimmermans are THE Dynasty to beat in the WWCD!

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make all of our last few social events. I really wanted to go see Clutch, one of my 3 favorite bands, with all 3 best BL buds. But it was one of the last nights we were in town, and at that point we’d been working late into the night every night, and we still weren’t done.

At the end, we ended up leaving a day later than planned, and we did not have time for any sleep the last night. But we made it! We dropped our cars off at my parents, then headed out to California!

Location:St. Louis park, mn

What does 5 months of food look like?

Something like this, but probably more:IMG_0804(Not the cat – he just likes getting in the way.)

We’re coming down to the wire! Keith has one week of work left, I’ve been done for a week, and we head west in just over three weeks.  There’s so much to do before then!  I’m still operating at 200% – standard General Mills intensity – so I’ve made a lot of progress, but it’s hard not to worry about all the work yet to be done.  I’ve been cleaning house and preparing to put things in storage.  Keith and I are both packrats.  Trying to reduce the amount of stuff we have on hand is stressful even though we always feel better once we’ve done it.  I have to confess that I really dislike 5S – it wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for that crucial “sort” step!

My first day off included a marathon trip to Costco to buy a cartload of snacks and ingredients.  I felt like Rodney Dangerfield in “Caddyshack” when he’s buying out the pro shop – “I’ll have a box of those, and give me a box of those naked lady tees, and gimme two of those, gimme six of those…”  It was an odd feeling to have to actually check the expiration dates on the boxes I was buying.  Most of our snacks are destined for the northern half of the trail.  Since the Washington, Oregon and northern California sections are so isolated we won’t have the luxury of buying them from nearby grocery stores. A bag of trail mix that expires in June might not be a wise purchase if we’re not planning on eating it until August.

I know about how many days we need to plan for but it’s tough to correlate that directly to, say, how many boxes of granola bars I need to buy. It’s probably safe to err on the side of buying too much since our appetites will go through the roof.  Estimates say that hikers will burn between 3000-4000 calories per day. Most people don’t carry quite that much since it would mean hauling a lot of weight.  They’ll have enough on hand to keep them going on the trail and make up for the deficit by chowing down in town.  I’m looking forward to this part!  Two pounds of food per day is a standard ballpark.  On our previous trips we never carried that much because our appetites tend to be small during the first few days of hiking.  I’m excited to see how that changes as we get past the first couple weeks!

The next big task is to start packing our meals.  My bags and oxygen eaters arrived earlier this week so there’s nothing stopping me from wading in.  Once we have those sealed up we can start breaking them out into about 25 shipments we’ll have mailed to us as we move north.

A trip to REI is in the cards for this weekend so we can spend our meager dividend and pick up a few pieces of gear.  Keith still needs a pair of microspikes for the mountains and I’m in the market for a headlamp.  We will also be keeping an eye out for clothes that will work well in the desert – something lightweight, light-colored and loose.  As usual, “fashionable” is pretty far down that list!