We flew back to Canada to get organized to hit the PCT. John and Rita were kind enough to let us stay with them in Creston while we got ready. When we applied for permits we were not able to get the same dates. There was a 2 weeks difference in our start dates and the work around for that is not deemed legal by the PCTA, if stopped you can get in trouble. In the end it was a non issue since we changed our permits to head Southbound on the PCT as we weren’t even close to being ready to head off on our original dates. SOBO permits aren’t in demand, something about it being harder to go straight into the mountains instead of building up to it. We were easily able to get a date for both of us and planned to hit the trail June 26. It worked out as since we could give ourselves time to train and get our gear organized for our start date.
We got packs from Northern Ultra Light, a cottage company in Nelson. We ordered them online and arranged to drive over with John and Rita to pick them up. John and Rita had some things they wanted to do in town, so we split up after we got the packs. Timing was fortuitous since we were able to see Avenger’s End Game.
John and Rita were great, they would drop us off in the morning past Sirdar so we could walk around Duck Lake, then pick us up when we finished. We had some really nice walks, saw otters, elk and all sorts of birds.
In April we headed to Calgary to pick up my Mom so we could spread my sister, Gillian’s ashes. It’s an up and down feeling for me… I was there when my Dad died but wasn’t there when they spread the ashes. With Gill, I wasn’t there when she died but I would be there for the ashes. Gill’s husband Ron arranged that we would all meet in Kimberly for the weekend. Paul and I drove to Calgary, stayed one night and picked up my Mom and headed to Kimberley. Ron, Mom, Judy(Ron’s Mom), Paul and I were able to be there. The plan was to spread Gill’s ashes on Saturday, have a nice dinner together then we would drive Mom back on Sunday.
It was extremely difficult for everyone to be in the house without Gill but it gave us time to talk and share memories together. On Saturday, we had breakfast together at one of Gill’s favorite places before we drove off to spread her ashes. Unfortunately at this point the weather took a bad turn and a blizzard was forecast. After some scrambling we were able to arrange a flight for Mom to get back to Calgary that afternoon.
Ron had chosen one of Gillian’s favorite places to scatter her ashes, Campbell Lake. They used to go there for picnics or coffee. It was a beautiful location and was very peaceful. We spoke about Gill, shared some of our favorite memories and Mom read a poem. We all took turns to spread some of Gill’s ashes in different areas around the lake. I think Gillian would have been happy. Afterwards Paul and I took Mom to the airport to catch her flight back to Calgary. It was a very tearful goodbye but we got her checked in and headed to Creston before the snow. Mom called several hours later, unfortunately the flight was cancelled due to weather. Ron had gone and picked Mom up, taking her back to their place for the night and bringing her back the next day.
In May our friends Pati & John headed off on a long vacation to Europe for 5 weeks… good timing since we were able to house sit for them. They have a huge backyard so we set up and spent a night in the tent! We were able to access the trails from their place and kept up the training walks, heading up to Arrow Mountain, Billy Goat Bluffs and more. It was always nice to stop back in at John and Rita’s for lunch or the occasional ride back. We kept up with quiz nights at Casey’s, winning several times as the SofaKings… John and Rita took over when Pati and John headed off. We were robbed one night when the tie breaker was given to another team for an incorrect answer and our honor was besmirched when we were falsely accused of cheating but we are gluttons for punishment. To this day John says he still had the best bean bag toss ever seen in the event… and it must have been good since he did win a prize. We had a nice visit with Bob and Erin when they came into town for a couple of nights. It was a nice surprise when they said they were coming to town. We did a walking pub tour, hitting the Kokanee Pub, Casey’s and ending up at Jimmy’s. It was a really nice time and great to see them.
We headed back to John and Rita’s about a week before we left on our adventure. We finalized our gear, shipped our first resupply and got boxes for future ones, spent time getting organized until finally it arrived! We are heading to Winthrop tomorrow!