Rachel, Adam and I have been collecting food throughout the year. Each time Adam and I went grocery shopping, if we saw that Knorr noodles or rice was on sale, we’d purchase a bunch. After a few months I had a full bin of dinners… almost 100 of them! We slowly continued to add to our stash, and we had quite a lot saved up… but there was so much more to get.
When we announced the PCT thru-hike, my friend David contacted me. He had 9 months’ worth of thru-hiker’s food stashed in boxes that might expire before his next trip, so he offered to let us go through and take out what we could use. We were overwhelmed with his generosity! We were able to more than double our then current food stash!
Then Rachel, Adam and I got together one night and counted all the food we had collected, in addition to the donation of food from David. We organized it all into separate Rubbermaid bins and labeled them. All we had to do was get them to Phillips and into my parent’s basement, since they’d be sending us resupply packages.
Then the food took a turn.
It was all packed up in the back of my dad’s pick-up truck. Adam was driving it to Phillips. He hit a patch of black ice, and before he even had a chance to react, the truck spun around and rolled over twice into the ditch in the middle of the highway. Adam was shaken, but okay. Wow. THANK GOD.
I found out about the accident after my kickboxing class. My phone was lit up with text messages and missed calls, which is unusual for me. The first text I read was from Adam.
“Had a bad accident but I’m ok. Lots of oatmeal packets strewn about…”
I was shaking and near crying, not knowing if he was texting me from the hospital or what. I knew he was alive, and that was great, but what did “ok” mean at this point? I had a voicemail from my dad that said to call him as soon as I could, so that’s what I did first. I felt a little more at ease when he explained that the state patrol had just showed up and was talking with Adam, and that my mom and dad were on their way down to meet him.
So of course, the most important thing is that Adam was okay. But once things settled a little bit, we were able to evaluate the status of the truck and the cargo. The truck ended up totaled, so my mom and dad had to deal with insurance and make some tough decisions about that… and they have been undescribably awesome with this whole situation, understanding that Adam was in kind of an awkward spot. I mean, who wants to call their father-in-law and tell him they totaled his truck!? They’ve been nothing but supportive and positive throughout the whole situation.
So next on the list… the food. What did we lose? We decided to let it sit and settle until I was able to get to Phillips to really take a look at what was there. We honestly weren’t sure if there was an entire bin or two missing, or just a few oatmeal packets.
After the accident Adam tried to walk around the truck and pick up as much as he could find, leaving behind some of the oatmeal packets since they were already soaking up moisture from the snow. When my parents got the truck back a few days later, they emptied the bins that had wet food in them and laid it all out on a metal shelf in the basement to dry. When I got to Phillips and started to go through it all, I was happy to see that we had all the bins we started with. A few were cracked and broken, and the food was mixed up, but it looked like it was mostly there. And the damp oatmeal packets that were laid out to dry looked to be perfectly okay!
I started by making piles. Oatmeal. Tuna and salmon. Granola bars. Meat. Snacks. Dinners. Then I recounted it all and organized it into the bins that were still in tact. After it was all finished, it looked as good as new. Adam put together a spreadsheet that listed everything we had so we could reference it as we go along on the hike. In the end, I think the only things we lost were maybe a small amount of meat, maybe a few snacks and about 100 oatmeal packets. The bulk of it was there, and we were going to be totally fine. Our food loot is ready to go… even after all it has been through.
So we will eat. I know each time I eat one of those instant oatmeal packets I’m going to feel thankful. At least until I get sick of eating instant oatmeal. Then I’ll choke it down and remember something much bigger that could’ve been lost. I do love my food, but I love my Adam much, much more.