139 days and 1726 miles!
Whew! Andy crossed over the California/Oregon border into the proud and outstretched arms of his Grandfather, who had told him since the beginning of this long journey that he would meet him somewhere on the trail. This is not an easy thing to do.
The guide books and PCT Handbook that we’ve used to navigate our way through this incredible journey always caution about meeting up with friends and family — because anything can happen on the trail. You can fall behind, or be on a roll, the terrain can be easy and you might just wanna keep on truckin. This meeting had been planned just a little over a week ago as we tried to predict Andy’s progress and Grandpa’s intersecting arrival by plane and rental car. Today, the two are united in Ashland, Oregon!
And what lies ahead for Andy and his Grandpa are his favorite words linked together once again — Free Food and Lodging! Grandpa will be ‘flatpacking’ Andy on the trail over the next few days as he begins his journey into Siskiyou Mountains where he’ll eventually cruise right along the rim of Crater Lake.
So for the blog today and because so many of you have been curious about my other part-time job as a ‘trail support mama’ I’m gonna lay out for you what it looks like to get Andy’s food drops (and other wants and needs) to him about every 3-4-5 days.
Meals always begin with a shopping trip, usually to Mother’s (biggest Health Food Grocery in Orange County. Andy is very particular about what he’ll eat and his tastes keep changing as he keeps moving forward. He tends to get sick of certain things along the way. First it was no more peanuts and then it was nuts in general and then he didn’t ever what to see gorp again. He’s still good with fresh, hand-shelled macadamia nuts though probably because they are hand-shelled and specially ordered from a small MacNut Farm in San Diego.
After shopping its assemblage. Putting bars, dried fruit and meals into bags. Dinners are usually some sort of seasoned mix with added dehydrated beans, rice and legume so that he can add heated water and wahla — dinner!
Besides food there are occasional equipment, shoe and clothing drops. Below you will see an old pair of running shoes next to the new pair shipped out a couple of weeks ago. The bottoms just start to wear out after a while — duck tape is only a temporary solution.
Daily food rations get put in sealed plastic bags along with a few other goodies like ‘Go Towels’, wipes, a detergent cube and some extra paper towels. I always try to put in a special treat too like homemade cookies, some coconut water or Kale chips. Andy’s weird about sugar, so never anything with any sugar content. That’s a no-no. Oh and if I do send anything that he doesn’t like it goes into the ‘Free’ Bin available for all PCT hikers to go through. I think that’s were those TJ’s chili lime cashews went.
Below is the wall that keeps me on track of the name of the next Post Office, small town, lodge or trail angel that accepts packages and with how many days of food he’ll need. Right now Andy’s hiking 20 – 25 miles a day so I calculate how many miles between each drop and divide to figure out how much he’ll need.
A lot of the packages to small towns just go general delivery with his last name on top and on all four sides of the box and the words, “PCT-Thru Hiker” ETA 8/27. As a side note, the Post Office is a pain to deal with, so whenever I can I send it UPS. There is a wonderful employee at the UPS Store who’s taken a keen interest in the trail.
Lastly, if you’d like to mail something to Andy and show your support he will be in Sisters, Oregon by September 8. Here’s the address to mail to: Big Lake Youth Camp, Andrew Astro Lyon, C/O Big Lake Youth Camp, 131100 Highway 20, Sisters, Oregon 97759 A card would be fine. He’s travelling really light, so nothing that would weigh him down. Food is okay, just healthy, organic and no sugar!