Today is the day… Luckily I got a little bit of sleep last night, so it was a fairly easy drive to Chadron airport. I was worried about falling asleep during the drive yesterday, but since I got some rest at work it wasn’t too bad. It actually went quick, which was surprising seeing as how typically when I’m excited about going on an adventure, the drive to the airport seems to take forever.
I got to the airport and in my usual fashion held up the line at security because they had to open my bag and look at my stove, look at my trekking poles etc. Same thing every time, no biggie. As I was waiting to board, I took a quick look at my water filter and noticed that the gasket where the filter connects to a bottle was toast. Dried, cracked and falling out. Crap.
I put a post up on the PCT 2017 Facebook page asking if anyone that has the same start date as me would happen to have a spare gasket, but to no avail. I was nervous about what I was going to do, but at the same time had somewhat of a “whatever” attitude about it, and wasn’t too worried.
I flew from Chadron to Denver, and while in Denver treated myself to a huge turkey club sandwich and sweet potato fries. The sandwich was pretty okay, but the fries were phenomenal! Of course this food and the lack of sleep then caught up to me and I found myself looking for a place to crash, since my flight didn’t even leave for another couple of hours. I managed to find a spot in the corner of the gate where I was to fly out of next and spread out a little bedroom. There were a few people that were giving me strange looks but I cared less. I passed out immediately.
The next leg to San Diego was pretty uneventful with the exception of the guy across the aisle from me. I was trying relax, read, nap etc but this guy was driving me nuts! I don’t know if he was drunk or tweaking or what but he could not sit still. He almost got strangled.
Once I arrived in San Diego, I immediately got a text from Nom Nom saying he was outside the terminal waiting to pick me up.
Nom Nom and his girlfriend are volunteers from Connecticut that pick up hikers from the airport and provide rides to Campo and to Scout and Frodo’s house in San Diego.
After a quick drive we arrived at Scout and Frodos. They are a retired couple that have decided to open their house to hikers every season. They refuse to accept any donations or gifts, they simply do it out of the kindness of their hearts. Great people.
After a delicious meal of mashed potatoes and Guinness Beef Stew, S&F talked to the group of around 25 hikers that are spending the night about trail etiquette, LNT, and the PCTA. We were also introduced to the current chair of the PCTA, and the owner/founder of gossamer gear. At one point Scout asked him what his base weight typically is. He said “usually under 5 pounds”. Whoa.
I was given a tour of the house, and was just blown away by the generosity and the thought that’s been put into hosting hikers. Electronics charging stations, hiker boxes, all the food you can handle, and even a garage that’s set up like a mail room for sending and receiving packages. They sell things that you wouldn’t have been able to bring on the plane, such as stove fuel as well. I bought a can for $5. Not a bad price really.
They have large canopies to sleep under in the back yard, but I set up my bed outside in the grass. I didn’t come all this way to sleep under a roof on a nice night like tonight. I’ll sleep on the AstroTurf instead!
I charged my electronics and took a quick peak in the hiker boxes. Lo and behold, one of the first things I saw was a Sawyer water filter friggin gasket, right there at the bottom of the box! You gotta be kidding me!
The trail provides, once again.
Off to bed now, we have an 0500 start tomorrow. Frodo will be cooking breakfast for everyone and off we go to Campo!