One Week ‘Til Takeoff

(Gus)

As we enter the final week at home before hitting the trail our planning has gone into overdrive, or so I like to think. In reality, it feels as though I am playing a game called “How much planning for a five-month trip can I do in one week or less?” Nothing makes someone feel like an inefficient dunce more than planning for a five-month hike. My notable blunders have been buying twice as many Poptarts than were necessary (that’s an excess of 400 Poptarts), purchasing multiple backpacks before realizing that I have a completely functional one in my closet, and creating resupply schedules around locations that don’t exist. These are only mistakes while planning though; I cannot wait to see what the trail will serve up. Overall, though, planning is going swimmingly. We have moving boxes all around our house which are chock-full of nutritious goodies like Starbursts, Snickers, and Skittles.

box

Our life in boxes

Yesterday I went on another training hike with my buddies Eric and Corey. We got up at 4 A.M., drove to Mt. St. Helens, walked to the top, and then slid to the bottom. The way down was like a classic game of chutes and ladders, just without the ladders. A certain 1,000 vertical foot section took a never-ending hour to ascend and a thrilling two minutes to descend. When we got to the summit we were thankful for the 1980 eruption. That last 1,300 feet would have been killer. From the summit we had a sublime view of the crater, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and all of the Cascades near us.

st helens2

Mt. St. Helens with her top off on a summer day in May

Over the course of the next five months this blog will not only be used to chronicle our walk home; it will also be used to relate the condition of life that we will be living to the condition of life in rural Bolivia, where Etta Projects does its work. Last fall Elena and I decided to turn this hike into a fundraiser for a local non-profit called Etta Projects which promotes sustainable development in the poverty stricken villages of Bolivia. More than 25% of Bolivians live in a condition of extreme poverty in which the people have difficulty with accessing basic human needs such as food, safe drinking water, health care, and shelter. Initially, raising money for Etta Projects was our only goal, until we realized that we could help raise awareness as well through a blog. Some of the areas of life that we will be able to connect with Bolivia will be water scarcity in Southern California, possible water contamination throughout the entire hike, any medical situation, and pooping. I look forward to experiencing and reflecting on these challenges on a daily basis to create a sense of empathy towards the Bolivians who I hope to work with someday.

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