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[pct-l] pre-trail magic!

Life is good when you're dreams are oh so close, and yet so nerve-racking.
Just in the past few days at work, at the behemoth flagship REI, aka the
Death Store/Evil Empire, I've met some wonderful people.

The first was a young guy named David from the San Juan Islands hoping to do
the thru in '98 with his girlfriend. He was directed my way from a fellow
employee in a different department, since they all know I'm taking off for
the big one. I fielded his barrage of questions and soon realized how far I
had come from my feeble beginnings of the dream. Told him the only thing
mandatory was the guidebooks, then play with the rest from there. Introduced
him to psycho Ray's little book, this chat room (hopefully we'll see him on
here soon!) and many ideas that I've reached through all of you wonderful
people out there in cyber land. He balked at almost all of my answers about
the usual astonishing things like shoes, tarps, umbrellas, etc. But he's a
good soul, someone I'd be happy to meet on the trail and hike along with for
awhile. I hope his dreams follow through next year!

The next day I was working in the wonderful world of footwear and just
returning from a break while it was incredibly busy( for some reason
seattle-ites go shopping for outdoor gear on the weekends instead of using
what they've got and just getting out there?!?). As I was donning my "green"
vest in back Jason came back and said, "hey, there's a couple out there who
want to know which shoes you're wearing this summer and how many pairs." With
vest half on and my head cocked I look at him all weird and my brain snaps.
"Wait a minute, are they doing the thru this year?"
"yep," he says with a manical grin, of which I match in a heartbeat. I bee
line out amongst the crowd to where they're seated and gladly introduce
myself and meet Jeff Mizenko and Michelle Willix of Sultan, WA and their pile
of shoes that they are trying out ever so lately in the game. It turns out
they are planning for 5 months, as I, and starting on Ray's itenerary on May
2nd, the day after myself, Polite Cat and a few others. The conversation was
a rollercoaster ride of trail talk, with the big realization of the start
being closer than we think. We talked for an hour, and luckily I ran in back
and got my vest off so the customers wouldn't be as pissed. My fellow
employees didn't care since they knew what was going on between us, meeting
fellow dreamers in person is a serious morale booster. We exchanged numbers
and i'm actually doing a hike tomorrow right by there home so I'll give them
a ring. It was nice getting to see them while in city clothes, groomed and
pretty and all, since we'll be far from that rather soon. It also turned out
that he was one of the people who did the first aid on a co-worker of mine,
Amy, who broke her wrist snowboarding up at steven's pass, and they got to
see eachother again that day, too. What a little reunion of sorts!

Then, again, I met a woman today and I don't know what we started talking at
first but within less than a minute the trail came up and THEN i noticed the
PCT pin she had on her jacket. she's a big section hiker and doing hood to
canada this summer. Unfortunately our conversation was brief since I had
customers to deal with but we swapped gear info and she came up with a new
modification to the umbrella that you all might be interested in. She hates
black flies, more than the devil. So she's rigged mosquito netting to the rim
of her umbrella, which also mounts to her pack, and when it's unclipped from
the rim, it falls down below her hips and cinches it with shock cord and a
cord lock so she can take a break/lunch amongst the nasty ones without having
to don mucho bug juice or set up her tent. All in all it's a mind saver and
she said it added a whopping 2 ounces to her umbrella for you weight weenies.
Sounds good to me, I just question the durability of it when not in use
through so much of the rest of the trail. Any opinions?

Then, last, but I'm sure not the last, but not the least I met a nice man who
is a teacher who's done most of the PCT in sections, and doing the Trinities
this year, and also attempting the Continental Divide Trail in sections, this
summer doing the southern half of colorado, too! Even though I haven't
started the PCT yet i've set my eyes on the CDT between next summer and the
year 2000. Gotta plan ahead!
So it's days like today that make you forget the cold, miserable rain, the
horrendous traffic due to the sniper on hwy 99, my roommate forgetting what
it means to be a friend and going out with my recent ex-girlfriend, etc.

Sorry if this is long, but it's nice to see the magic start so early, so I
thought I'd spread some around.
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