MIKE MacFERRIN'S OLYMPIC SOLO TREK....July 23, 2004


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backpacked weighed 62 pounds as seen here, complete with 33 pounds of food, 3 pounds fuel and 5 pounds water. This serious payload would haul everything I needed for the next 16 days." border=1 vspace=4> >
Resupply day in Forks.

Half my trip is over. I have lived on the trail for two weeks, and my wits are uneased by speedy schedules, roaring engines and busy people that circulate about in the midst of civilization. Forks is a small town, all things considered, but to me it seems crowded, noisy, congested. I circulate through town, picking up provisions and supplies for my most ambitious undertaking to date. Tomorrow I will head to the Queets River Trailhead, once again solo, and attempt a 16-day transect of the Queets River Valley, off-trail, capped with a full traverse of the legendary Bailey Mountain Range. This attempt, this plan of mine, has been labeled by different well-meaning people as insane, inspiring, ambitious, and just plain crazy. I have never prepared so thoroughly for any single effort in my life. Two years of obsessive planning and consideration have culminated to this, and it seems unbelievable that it's here.

Sitting on the porch, I count and recount my dinners, breakfasts, lunches, snacks, drinks. Approximately thirty-eight thousand calories, in various shapes and sizes, are sprawled before me in a multitude of gallon-sized plastic Ziploc baggies.


My survival for the next two weeks depends upon getting this right. Extra batteries, extra water-purification drops, extra toilet paper, sunscreen and bug repellant... nothing can be left unconsidered. Leather gloves, emergency PLB, multi-vitamins, First Aid provisions, insulin supplies (yes, I'm diabetic), and food. Especially food. Eventually I pack it all into my pack, creatively using every available square inch of space. In the end, my pack sits ready to go... an overstuffed monstrosity of it's former self. All said, it weighs a nearly prohibitive 62 pounds. (See My 62-pound Lightweight Pack .) On a trail, this kind of weight is exhausting and ungainly to carry. Off-trail, bushwhacking through a rainforest, it could restrict my balance & movement enough to be dangerous. "It'll get lighter" I assure myself... "it'll only weigh this much until I eat the first candy bar." Thankful for my strong legs and lungs from the past two weeks of training, I fitfully fall asleep under a clear sky.

Yesterday, the vacation ended. Tomorrow, the adventure begins.