Thank you  Kady for these great "Beginning Shots"!
Kady just forwarded this note from Cassandra that she wrote on the 15th, the day they began their trek.  Pics to come ...

Six in the morning came too quickly!  All I wanted to do was cuddle up into the covers and sleep for a couple more hours. : )

It’s been so much work to get to this point…I can barely believe we’re on our way to the trail!  We’ve thought of this moment for so long that it seems surreal to actually be living it out—I feel a little like I’m on auto-pilot. 

            I look back on the last day and a half and see so many hands that have helped us get to this point.  Gratitude is an abundant feeling in my heart.  The community that supports us is a generous one…We love you guys!

            The weather is currently rainy…oh well. : )

            We picked up some fresh food at a grocery store, and gave our friend Thom some Canadian money to commemorate his first trip to the country!  Now we’re back on our way—almost there…

            Our first task when we get there is to meet a couple who are also starting—they needed fuel somehow and we were able to get it for them, so it’s cool to be starting off and already helping others.

            This will be our last message until we send our journal pages out from Stehekin.  Rich, thank you again and again for keeping our readers updated.  It means so much to us!

            The first week is sure to be interesting so we welcome your prayers, friends.  Thank you for your support! 


5 months of food!
We now have 28 supply boxes packed away in our closet.  We will mail them at just the right time so that they will be waiting for Jason and Cassandra at Post Offices along the trail.  It was a late night getting ready.

The Blue Bus didn't want to run, so before before completing the day, Jason drove it to the local mechanic to have it looked into.  Personally, I think it just needs a good tune-up.  Jason thinks it's gas ... I think it's electrical.  We'll see who wins the bet on this one!

The Lands, T-home and Megan drove Boyes to the trailhead.  In Canada.  Boyes plan to hike 7 miles today, and spend their first night tonight just inside the U.S. border.  The snow level is suppose to be at 5,000 feet tonight and Wednesday.

Now waitint to hear back for Lands.

A painting of Peter and John healing the crippled man-by Raphael
It has been crazy these last couple of days!  I would never have imagined all of the things that have just happened to us...the van breaking down while we were trying to relocate all of our belongings to Snoqualmie,  having dinner at a Mexican Restaurant with sweaty-sock tasting Margaritas and a Magician, having our van miraculously make it home, seeing several friends last-minute at church in Snoqualmie (Estebs, Mr. Hume, Kristin Moomaw, Monty, Marty-LOVE all of you guys!), seeing Jason working on the van with his shirt off  ;)   ,  having a fantastic dinner with the Crams after again, miraculously making it back to Plain, then having the van break down...again.  Late nights, many details, lots of lists......We have ONE.  more.  day.

I tell you though, it has not been boring around here!  If you want to see God show up, just get ready for some kind of big trip.  You're sure to see Him.  :) 

While we were stranded our first time in Issaquah, what came to my mind was a reminder from the sermon at church that morning.  In the fourth chapter of Acts, we see two of the Apostles thrown into jail after having been moved by the Holy Spirit to heal a man who was crippled since birth.  Thousands of people came to believe in this man Jesus of Nazareth, because of what they had seen done to this man, so we can assume that the Apostles, along with being Spirit-filled, were aligned with God's will, right?..and where did it get them?  Jail. 

How did that happen?  We so often believe that following Christ comes with a life of safety, and that uncomfortable situations just don't really happen...Well I think we can learn a lot from our dear Apostles that sometimes, even when living in the sight of God, life CAN get uncomfortable.  The Apostles stood before the most important people the next day in 'court', and stood firm in their faith in Jesus and didn't back down, even when threatened....THOUSANDS were added the the numbers of those who put their belief in Jesus...

Friends, do believe that it's for a greater good that you may be in that place.  God works in mysterious ways and He simply calls us to Love Him, and Love others.  Fret not the small details, for even the birds of the air are fed daily, and have places to make their nests, and are we not more valuable than they are?  (Matthew 6:25-34)

Now off I go to create order out of chaos-Pray for us ;)
I get to try my hand at a blog!  Cassandra is going to let me keep the updates going, so I'll get a letter now and then telling how the trail is treating them, and I'll post.  It may not be as entertaining as when Jason does it, but at least I'll have fun.  Tonight, Boyes will be leaving their food boxes with us, and it will be up to Cindy to make sure they get in the mail at the right time to meet them at the designated Post Office at the right time.  Timing is everything! 

We'll get last minute instructions ... then it's hugs and kisses!!

it looks so peaceful and dependable sitting in front of that bridge.  the lesson is that it takes fuel to get started and stay running, much like a long distance hiker.  i can see the book now, "hiking and the art of volkswagen maintenance."

i have to admit that i'm pretty excited to not have to worry about the van for the next 5 months.  a vw van is pretty cool, but i'm over it.  we put a bunch of money in it for our road trip down to adzpctko and we praise God that we made it back without anything happening, so we figure it was worth the money.

since we've been back from that trip, we've had troubles getting the van started and it sometimes takes 5 or 6 times of cranking the key until it finally starts and once it gets running its usually fine.  it seems that when it needs to start, it is starved of fuel, i'm not sure if its a clogged fuel filter or what, but once it gets running, its definitely getting enough fuel and runs normally.  (any mechanics out there reading this?  i feel like i need to reenact a brian regan sketch and start making the noises for everyone.)

of course there hasn't been a lot of time to take it to the mechanic and get it fixed, we've had our apartment full of boxes and have been spending some late nights packing food and gear.  our original plan was to leave the van with a friend of ours who is spending the summer at yd and it will give him some freedom while having a chance to have the van get driven while we are gone.  now we're not so sure.

we packed all of our stuff up in the van and prepared to drive 2 1/2 hours to drop the stuff of with some friends, spend the night, go the church the next morning and then drive back and finish packing.  that was our plan, the van is on another schedule.  we've been push starting it because we park on a hill and its easy, we stopped at the dumpster to drop off our trash and the van died, cassandra had to push start it.  we pulled out onto the main road, got to the stop sign, it died again, this time it started up.  we rolled through two stop signs trying to get to the main highway where we could just cruise and cruise we did.  

we got to within 30 minutes of our friends house, stopped at rei and got back out into the van, it started up, sweet, we're almost there, we pull out to the stop sign and it dies and there is no getting it started again.  cassandra has to get out, wave people past us, then push the van back out of the way.  it was 45 minutes of trying to start it, trying to push it, wiggling things around  in the engine and our friends show up.  we push it to the parking lot, leave it there and go out to dinner.

this is a long story... we get back from dinner after being entertained by a magician at a mexican restaurant and the van starts, i drive around the parking lot, then it dies.  it starts one more time and we go for it!  i had to pop the clutch 2 times on the way home and i never let off the gas for fear of it dying.  i had to make it through 2 stop signs and 5 stop lights, there was some celebrating as it rolled into their driveway.

and now it just sits, and we're not sure how we are getting home...

there are valuable lessons owning a vw van, i just want to know why we have to learn them all now.

pretend that this is an up to date picture of the explosion that has happened in our living room, full of food, boxes, gear, and a plethora of other things.

unbelievable,  i'm sure that i write this all the time but, time is flying!!  cassandra has been working really hard, seriously, really hard to get all of the food ordered, bought, separated, zip-locked, packed, etc, and she is doing an awesome job.  a decision was made early on that i would leave the food to her, not just because i'm lazy and don't feel like helping, but because we have different views on food and its a battle that is not worth fighting.  i am really amazed at the research and time that she has been putting into it.  way to go wife!!  she is not skimping on anything, well maybe a little on the jello pudding, its not organic. :)

so the gear is just about done, just need to put some of it in the resupply boxes.  i've been meaning to figure out my base pack weight, but keep getting distracted, so that will have to wait for another day.  things are looking great though, the weather is starting to warm up, which means that snow is melting in the mountains.
we haven't been out training as much as we would like to be, there just seems to be so much else going on between packing, river rafting, and getting ready to leave for 5 months, there hasn't really been a lot of time to go out hiking, well actually we just haven't made it a priority and figured that it is more important to have food and gear for the trip and that we will be able to get in hiking shape on the trip.  

so, much like this little blog entry, my mind seems to be all over the place.  i find it hard to keep planning and looking over maps, etc., i really just want to be on the trail and get this adventure started.  we have been asked the question, "are you getting excited for your trip?" about a million times and no offense to those of you who have asked it, but that question alone makes me want to head off into the wild and away from people for awhile.  we love you though and are excited to share this journey with you.

alright, time to go make wife some pancakes.

The stress has been building lately...I've been doing my best to try and stay on top of the to-do list.  I know it will all get done, though.  What really gets me, is the way that I poorly handle my relationship with Jason.  I feel like my fuse has been really short lately...I have a low tolerance for his questions, I'm taking things he says to me in the wrong way-I'm just a walking jumble of high-strung emotions.  Do I want to be this way?  Ofcourse not!  So what's going on?.....

This morning I woke up, made my coffee, and I realized that I desperately needed to spend some time with God.  It's been a little while, and when I get wrapped up in the details of my life, and do not make that time a priority, the proverbial saying comes to my mind, "The sh*t hits the fan".  (Hopefully that doesn't offend anybody, but I think we all universally understand it's context!  :)   )  I sat at the table, all alone, sipped my coffee, and just kind of let some things off of my chest, as if my Lord were sitting there with me, enjoying his own Latte. :)  I spoke about how I was feeling, what I was recognizing as  poor behavior, how I wanted to be, what I could use as "divine intervention" if you will...just a little coffee chat.  I prayed for this big adventure, for Jason river-rafting today...Then I thought to go outside.

On the porch, I continued to "chat" with Him, and I immensely enjoyed the sunshine on my face, the view of the distant mountains with snow on them, the sounds of the Aspen leaves blowing and birds chirping...My heart, after experiencing all of that, was filled to overflowing...Peace, stability, strength-they're companions of mine again.

This my friends, is what it looks like for me when I have an encounter with my Papa. He takes all that I have to bring to the table, He wraps it up in His arms, and He says to me "This we can deal with...Together."  And that alone is the difference between stress, and peace.

I hope Peace is your companion today.