Contingency Plans 

The next day we hiked fifteen miles through a cloudy fire scared landscape to Forest Service Road 23 where we were meeting my parents who were bringing us our food drop. The mountain was hidden most of the day behind mist, only early in the morning were the clouds moving fast enough for us to get glimpses of it while we circumambulated it. Really the lack of views was a blessing because we had promised my parents we would be at the road by 1pm and we were having a time making miles after our big day the day before. Not to mention I had an emergency poop that slowed us down. 

We made it to the road at 1:10pm, after getting a text out to my parents at the top of the descent, letting them know we would be a couple minutes late. We had received two texts from them, one informing us they had been detoured onto FSR 25 and another confirming that we were on for meeting at the original spot. When we got to the road they were no where in sight. We sat down on the road to wait. After waiting for fifteen minutes we started making backup plans. We didn’t have any cell phone service so we couldn’t get in touch with them. How long did we give them? What did we do if they didn’t show up? Why had we not made contingency plans with them? 

I assumed that for some reason FSR 23 was closed, so they were having to take a detour, which could add quite a bit of time to their trip. Kyle assumed that somehow there had been a miscommunication and they were waiting for us somewhere else. I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t possible for them to be in the wrong place, I had makes an X on the map where they were supposed to meet us. We decided to give them until 3:00pm and if they didn’t show up we would begin trying to hitch to Trout Lake where we could get cell service and call them and worst case scenario we could resupply ourselves. They still hadn’t showed up two hours later at 3:00pm but a green truck drove up and a couple of hikers piled out. The man driving it, Gary, confirmed our fears, that FSR 23 was closed a ways up, and that the detour could take a while. It was chilly out so he offered to let us sit in the truck and told us stories about being a logger and then wild land firefighter for the Forest Service. Then he told us stories about bears and mountain lions and his daughter. Then it was 3:30 and there was still no sign of my parents. We decided Kyle should stay in case my parents did show up and that I would drive down the road until we got service so I could try to call them. Just as I was getting back in the truck to drive off my dad showed up! Without my mom… And with a spare tire on the back right…

“Hey Dad! You made it! Um, where’s mom?” 

“She and the dog are hiking to us.” 

“Hiking to us, from where?!?” 

“From the road you guys were going to hike to.” 

Let me explain. The original plan was for the rents to meet us at FSR 23. Then we would hike with my mom five miles to FSR 66 where my dad would meet us and he would pick her up and we would get our drop and then we would hike another five miles to camp. So my dad and mom had found themselves at FSR 66 and my mom decided to take the dog and go for a little hike. So now we had my dad and my mom was somewhere in the woods. I wanted to run straight into the woods to find her, but my dad insisted we give her time to get to us and eat some food in the meantime. My mom had sent us a text a couple of days earlier asking what we wanted for lunch but we hadn’t been able to find service to respond to her. So she had texted Cameron and he had told her tortellini salad, flank steak and my favorite cookies. Amazingly that is exactly what Kyle and I had been fanticizing about. Cameron knows us well. We choked down and right on time mom showed up, bursting out of the woods and announcing: “I made it!” 

We all sat around and chatted, hearing all about my mom’s hike on the Wonderland Trail (she had been doing that while we were hiking out from Snoqualmie). She showed us pictures, Carina (our dog) took a nap after her first ever hike and then emerged from the car reenergized and ready to go, we looked through our food drop. Eventually it was getting late and raindrops were starting to fall, so we said our goodbyes sadly and Kyle and I headed into the woods. Sure enough it started raining and Kyle’s mood clouded over briefly with the weather. He had gotten it in his head that we were going to end up in Trout Lake in a hotel, but I forced the next five miles to happen. After a little bit of grumpy hiking he came around and when we got to camp we set up our tent with our extra tarp for rain coverage for the first time. With the tarp set up the tent gets significantly less condensation and we both have more tarp coverage outside our doors for our backpacks. It made the night’s sleep much more peaceful in the rain. It was cozy in our tent with the tarp set up and I fell asleep, happy to have seen my family. I am so lucky to have people that care enough about me to take crazy adventures through the woods to get us food and hugs. I can’t thank them enough, especially since it turned out to be such a shit show, an expensive shit show since they had to buy all new tires for the Subaru. I fell asleep feeling more at home than I had in a while, because home is where the heart is and my heart is mostly where my family is and family felt closer that night than it had in a while. 

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As Edward Abbey said, "An indoor life is the next best thing to a premature burial."

11 thoughts on “Contingency Plans 

  1. Wouldn’t expect anything different from your parents. Met a guy yesterday while I was hiking with your grandmother, 78, up to Lake Ann at Mt. Baker. It was only a 10.5 mile hike and many a times I thought of your twenty some mile average a day and was very appreciative of your efforts. His name is Bobcat and I turned him on to your blog. Hope he becomes a fan. Could tell he wasn’t a day hiker due to his fast stride,long and wild hair, crazy long beard,basically no pack and black tennis shoes. Oh yeah and he did smell a bit. lol. He was very nice and even stopped to chat as we asked him a million questions. He had hiked the PCT and was now on the PNW trail. 1200 miles long. He was delighted to be informed of your adventures. So carry on and talk to you soon.

  2. Just curious about your tarp set up. How big of a tarp did you bring? Does it cover the whole tent or did you place it just to the front end to add extra vestibule space.

    Do you have problems with your tent in rain? Hope it’s not leaking on you. We were planning to purchase this tent for our PCT hike next year but just recently I heard about some durability issues from another thru-hiker so we’re not sure if it’s really our best option.

    1. Hey the tarp is a 5′ by 9′ tarp, we set it up to just cover one half of the tent, our heads. The tent is fine in the rain, sometimes if you close all the flaps up and it’s cold our you get som condensation, so with the tarp set up we can leave the flaps open. We love this tent and it’s been very durable. Getting used to a tent that is this open and lightweight always takes some time. But you will love it. And it doesn’t rain that much out here so it’s worth it.

  3. Lindsey and Kyle, I would like your permission to re-post some of your writing (Lindsey) and images (Kyle) on a website I maintain about the PCT — I would give you full credit and link to your blog. This has been a labor of love for me for the past five years. Your thoughtful writing and quality photos help capture the PCT experience.

  4. You failed to mention the second comment that came out of my mouth “That was the stupidest thing I have ever done!!!!” But honestly, what an adventure you provided for your ‘rents’. Honestly, our biggest fear was missing our connection and leaving you without the food we brought or the food for your next four days. I have to say, it is never a dull day when we are with you two. Thanks for including us.

  5. It is so interesting how the terrain looks so much like the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I guess mountains are mountains. I vaguely remember that being true in Switzerland as well, come to think of it.
    Tarps can come in handy. Ya gotta love them. As I listen to you though, I keep wondering how you are toting so many useful items? Of course, I’ve never been on such an extensive trip, (10 days max) and you have mentioned mailing things to yourself and drop offs, but to have what you need when you need it… I’d probably end up with what I need NOT being where or when I needed it. LOL
    And family… I love your folks for being such troopers! Don’t you just love family? They can either kill you or revive you. I’m so glad yours are the reviving kind. Enjoy!!

    1. The tarp is so small and so light it’s not hard to tote around, but mostly we have put a lot of time and energy into picking exactly the right gear!

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