July 18, 2009
Today would be a short but long day. We got ourselves up, moving, and repacked Jody's truck. Then with a "have fun storming the castle!" farewell from Bob and Karyn, we headed off to the great REI Mothership Store in downtown Seattle. I had a list of items I needed to finish getting, and in addition trade in my MSR Superfly because the one I had picked up in Maryland I thought had missing parts. Turned out that the instructions were terribly misleading and the supposed missing part was actually an optional accessory, but looked to everyone that I showed the instructions to that it should be an essential part of the stove! In the end, I essentially ended up trading stoves with REI for no gain or loss on either side. Plus we had to get the rental tent, and Jody and Francesca had a few last minute items to pick up as well.
All this took a bit longer than anticipated, but in the end, we had gotten 90% of everything we wanted to pick up. And set the rental tent up to check for dirt and damage prior to our departure (photo right of Jody inside rental tent set up in REI). I still had a need to pick up a outer shell jacket, as my other ones I had left back in Maryland because they...had serious mileage on them already, shall we say. Looking over REI's inventory of outer shells, the Mountain Hardware Typhoon jacket struck my fancy. Unfortunately, not my size. The REI sales dude suggested that I maybe then check out the Mountain Hardware store a few minutes away more centrally located in downtown Seattle. Well....cool, thanks!
After we finished getting everything else, we realized how much time we had spent in the store. The parking garage was first hour free then pay for every hour after. A very kind sales clerk named Tia decided she liked us and comped our garage ticket for us, since we were basically foreigners to this side of the country. :-)
At Mountain Hardware I went in to check out the jackets, and was immediately overwhelmed at the selection available. One of the sales staff named Helen came over and was most helpful in winnowing out what I didn't need/want to what I needed/wanted. Unfortunately...the only colors MH had on the sales floor were black and a light stone tan/grey. The latter would be excellent camoflauge up on the glaciers, the former color rather....dull. I was really hoping for something in a brighter color, such as orange or red or something - something that could be easily seen from a distance up on the glacier, and had a little color "life" to it. Alas...not meant to be. Helen sympathized with me, but this was all they had. And since we were heading in to The Mountain tomorrow...no time to order from the warehouse. I took the black jacket and bid my farewells, to the requests by the sales staff to return after we got down and let them know how it went.
Finally, we were done shopping. Mostly. Still had some grocery foods to get, but otherwise we were set. So headed off to Bellevue to see and stay with my friends Kerry and Eric and their kids.
We arrived shortly before they had dinner ready for us (image left of Jody and Kerry). Very scrumptious, I might add. We visited with them a while (it was great to catch up with them again; been too long, and I had never met their daughters), then took our leave to unload ALL our gear and packs onto their ample back deck and start sorting (image right). Kerry, Eric and their two daughters looked on, bemused. Max, the golden retriever, wanted to come out and help.
Weight was discussed at length, in which Jody convinced Francesca to lose a few ounces here and there. To that end Francesca decided to saw off the handle of her toothbrush ("Don't cut it too short!", warned Jody, "or you'll have a hard time reaching the back.").
At the end of the gear sort we divied up the communal gear: fuel, cook kit, first aid kit(s), tent parts and...the rope. Francesca and Jody both wanted to carry the rope (because once we hit the glaciers, the rope would come out of the pack), so decided the only fair way to do it would be via rock-paper-scissors. You can see here who won.
After that we repacked our packs and headed off to bed. Francesca called "couch!", and sacked straight out. Jody took the first bed she came to which was of decent size. Which left me, the tallest of the group, sleeping in a true twin bed, the smallest of the lot. Yeah, my legs hung over. ;-)
And quietly The Mountain awaited our arrival...