well, its been awhile since we've last updated.  we were babysitting three youngsters, 7,5, & 3 for a week, so let's just say that there wasn't a lot of time to focus on the trip, although we did go to the park many times and went for "hikes", which consisted of pushing strollers, or hearing  about how tired certain peoples legs were (and that was just cassandra, just kidding).  
so here we are with a couple days to get out and enjoy a quick backpack trip.  we are just leaving from our house, heading into the woods and finding a level spot to set up our tarp.  its supposed to thunderstorm today and possibly snow tonight, but we figure that its only one night and we can do anything for a night.  (reading that doesn't exactly sound like two hard core hikers who want to go out for 5 months, it looks like a couple of wannabes that have settled for an easy way out, which is exactly what it is) we'll hike anywhere from 5 to 10 miles in, it'll be fun.
we registered for adzpctko (annual day zero pacific crest trail kick off) and are looking forward to road tripping  down to southern  california in about three weeks to meet some other hikers and get star struck as we see some celebrities from the "walk" series that we've been watching.  thanks squatch!!
check back in a few days to hear about the trip, how the gear did and what things we will be changing.  we also got our sticpic (thestickpic.com) this week, looking forward to seeing the pictures.
ps. i'm taking the gps, although i haven't figured out how to get the topos onto the silly thing yet.  yes, i love technology...

cassandra has done an amazing job on this website and i'm just getting around to adding to it, so i'll start with a nice simple post about technology.

honestly,  i don't want to use a gps, i've struggled with the thought for years now as friends and co-workers seem to have jumped on board.  i don't really want to rely on something that uses batteries and could break.  i'm the one that didn't even want to get an email address, but was forced to my junior year of college when i was told to get one or fail a class.  my name is on our facebook page, but i rarely  go on it.  i'm just a little behind the times when it comes to this stuff, although my brother is all about it.  all the cool gizmos and gadgets that we have, pretty much all of them have come from him.  thanks scott.
so i have thought about it, done a bunch of research and decided to go with one as a backup for a couple of reasons:

1.  we're heading southbound(sobo) and contrary to some other webpostings, washington is not 25% of normal snowpack, its more around 60-70% right now, which means that we are still going to be hitting snow in the cascades and undoubtedly losing the trail many times

2.  i'm a map and compass guy, along with gut instinct, but i realize that there are times when you are deep in trees, or in pea soup fog, or just unable to find landmarks on a map and it is reassuring to know where you are

3.  from reading other journals from previous years sobos, i believe that the statement is accurate that said, you can do an additional 5-10 miles a day with a gps in snow because it will cut down on trying to find the trail

4.  halfmile has done all of us thru hikers an amazing blessing by providing trackpoints on his website that allows you to enter the trail into your gps.  thanks halfmile!!

5.  we don't have a cell phone and it puts people at ease knowing that we at least have some sort of modern technical devise with us that will save our lives should we become lost.  (although, i'm trusting in common sense and God's good humor more than the battery life of technology)

so yes, we've sold out and are taking a gps, at least for the washington portion while in the snow, after that, no way, it weighs too much, its like half a pound!!!  maybe we'll get it again for the sierras.

the plan is to only turn it on when we need it, save the battery life and attempt to make it just using maps and a compass.  

my new catch phrase is, "its all part of the adventure."  getting lost a little, side hilling in snow, postholing, rain, snow, mosquitos, ants, crazy hikers, crazy people in towns, hitchhiking, pain, doubt, struggle, the ups, the downs, all of it, its all part of the adventure.

so here's to selling out...

Yesterday, the 16th, marked three months until take-off...

For the last few weeks, (not constantly, but here and there) I've been wading through backpacking recipes, trying to figure out what kind of food to pack for this journey.  I've read a lot about food on the trail and what some people's preferences are...Some simply buy all of their food along the way, some diligently pack everything at home, dehydrating food for months on-end.  As with most choices in life, there are pluses and minuses to both of these.  We need some balance here.

Jason and I kind of feel like we fall in the middle of these two choices, and are therefore planning accordingly.  We'll pack some of our food at home (things that are harder to find), and then leave our bodies to decide what we'll pick up along the way.  The health of our bodies is worth the cost of shipping and time.

I value nutrition over convenience, so I'm willing to put in some work to make sure that atleast part of our diet is something that I can be proud of.  For five months, I'm not willing to only eat poptarts, snickers, ramen noodles, and a host of other "convenience foods" mostly found in the mini-marts along the way...so dried vegetables and fruits, probiotics, whole grains-these are what I'm shooting for in this pre-pack portion of our preparations.  I even know how to sprout and soak, so watch out backpack world!   

Last time we went shopping, we bought some different boxes of Couscous and picked one out for dinner.  We both ate one bowl with salsa, one with spaghetti sauce, and one just plain.  Then we gave each dish a star-rating that I penned onto the box for later reference!  I don't know!  We have to start somewhere and why not taste-test some of these recipes first!

One of my favorite tips for cooking on the trail involves putting together a meal in a zip-lock bag at home in which you just have to pour hot water into on the trail, and allow to rehydrate/cook.  There is some waste involved, that's for sure-I balance this thought out with the idea that we'll probably generate less trash than we would if we'd be at home for the same time period.  But no pot to clean and simple preparation makes these meals more than just enjoyable to eat!

Since I'm gathering information still, do you have any favorite backpacking meals that you'd like to share with us?  Easy dessert recipes are highly welcome... 

Freezer bag recipes                
Freeze-dried and Dehydrated food items
Our sleeping quilt all in pieces

It's such a wonderful feeling to crawl into your sleeping bag after a good day of hiking-tummy full from a tasty dinner but now feeling the chill of the night creeping through your bones.  We will carry this essential piece of gear through the snow-covered state of Washington, but then, we're going to switch to something a little different...

For the fun of it, we're joining the very few who have decided to go a different route from the traditional sleeping bag-a sew your own project...not a sleeping bag, but a sleeping quilt!   Our quilt is designed to go over the both of us and simply tuck in under our sides.  It will have a foot cup where we can tuck our feet into, and possibly a zipper running from side to side-That way we can halve it and each carry a piece. We're uncertain whether or not to install the zipper...We're weighing out the pros and cons...literally.

A disaster really could have occurred the other day when we started this project. Jason and I, well let's just say that our batting average for working well together on projects is a little less than .300!  I think I've narrowed it down to the fact that we're really more similar than first perceived, but just on two different wave-lengths.  We're working on this...but we started sewing two panels together, then another two. Jason  sat on the kitchen table and diligently held the fabric taught, while I, muscles tight from nervousness, stared down at the moving needle, trying to get the straightest line possible.  "How's the underside?" I'd ask.  Jason would check to make sure there weren't any loops in the stitching.  "Good."  Alright, keep sewing!  

Team work.  It feels so good to see it as it should be.  Must be why we like to teach it...

Working together on all the little details, or the big ones like how we're going to stay warm, this dream continues to unfold before us!  Step-by-step, panel-by-panel even.  Stay tuned for the finished product!  And now, in honor of our pals at YD Adventures, a special word on teamwork...