Monthly Archives: January 2012

Drumroll please….

We have heard that many of you are in suspense over our tent situation. We are here tonight to ease your minds, or at least give you an update:

Renee finally got up the gumption to contact REI (by way of live chat – and got out of calling) about our tent fly. Joshua N told her that there are no spare parts available, but recommended Rainy Pass repair. Just today, Rainy Pass responded with a estimate of $80-$100 for repairs to our tent fly. This is much cheaper than the $319 dollars for a new tent. This seems to be our best option for now. We are also keeping our eye on the exact same tent on Ebay. Renee thought about offering just to buy that fly on Ebay, but didn’t think the owner would break up the complete set.

In other news…we are on plan C for our hiking schedule. Plan A was scrapped after only mapping out 4 days. Plan B lasted until we realized we overshot our end date by 11 days. Oops. Plan C is going pretty well, but there may be a plan D in our near future.

This hiking schedule will be helpful in figuring out mail drops, town stays and pretty much everything else. This will stay at home for mom to know where we will be. Plan E will happen while we’re on the trail. We won’t tell mom.

Donations are already starting to come in. Thanks to all those who have donated so far. Check out our fundraising page for more information.

See you next week!

Jan 22nd

Unfortunately, we are not feeling very creative tonight, hence the amazing title.

In more exciting news we have finished taste testing our meals for the trail!!! Mom and Dad are VERY happy not to be our guinea pigs anymore. There are a few recipes that have not made the cut but most are doable with a few minor adjustments. The next couple weeks will be spent planning our menus and mail drops.

We have been working on replacing our damaged items. Alison was successful in obtaining a new sleeping mat for about the same price but Renee has neglected her duty to call REI about a rain fly. It’s not like she’s busy with winter retreats! This is also compounded by the fact she doesn’t like talking on the phone. 🙂

Our list of random items we need to find include dried coconut milk, dried sour cream, rope for hanging a bear bag, spice holders, and telescoping serving utensils. seems to be the place for such things.

The 2012 trail guides arrived this week and we are anxiously awaiting the information they supply. We are holding off until we have a full day to work on this. These guides will help us with planning our daily mileage, mail drops and town stays.

Other things we are working on: training, finding health insurance for Renee, taking care of bills while we are gone, and finally getting our fundraising letter out to everyone.

Thanks for all your suggestions and support so far!

Just Another Week in the Life of Appalachian Trail Planning

I am sure that you all are waiting eagerly to read about our trip to REI. Drum-roll please…

Actually it wasn’t as exciting as we made it out to be. 😦

After spending an evening/night with our lovely friend Portia laughing, getting schooled at a game called Blink and eating brownies, we used Alison’s GPS to find our way to REI. We actually sat in the car for 5 minutes debating our game plan. Once inside we were greeted with camping eye candy. (note: it is a good thing we are thrifty Mennonites. We could have bought the whole store) We decided to scope out the territory before asking any questions directly to the staff. Once we felt comfortable we asked the experts about hiking poles (cork vs rubber handles, anti-shock or not), boots (size with or without wool socks and room for expansion) and sleeping pad, sleeping bags and socks. We found the staff very helpful and knowledgeable…except for one thing.

They said they didn’t know how we could buy just a rain fly for our tent. 😦 So, Renee will be calling REI headquarters and try her hand at persuasion. Either that or we fork over $300 for a new tent. Eek.

On the way home we took turns reading aloud a book about the trail. Good times. Oh, and we stopped for ice cream. 🙂

All in all it we feel it was a beneficial trip.



Alison poses with sleeping bags at REI

We’re off to see the wizard, the wizard of REI!

After our camp out experience, and discovery of sub-par materials, we decided to trek north to the nearest REI store in the Twin Cities. For those who don’t recognize this store it is similar to Cabela’s only camping focused. We will be heading out tomorrow afternoon and we are excited about catching up with Portia Strasser while there.

We are looking forward to the awe inspiring, checkbook depleting, entity that is REI. Our list includes trekking poles, hiking boots, and of course, a replacement rain fly for our tent (see previous post). Another highlight will be the availability of experts to answer our multitude of questions.

Bring it on!


Details to follow, maybe even some pictures! 🙂

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