The Trip 4 team’s Wednesday itinerary calls for about five miles in the Cispus Pass vicinity and camping near Sheep Lake.

Their Tuesday evening report included: A couple hikers were able to secure Tuesday night’s campsite in the morning. Hiker Mark felt better by noon after getting stung by bees. The day was adventurous and the weather was windy and cold. They reiterated “everyone ok.” What we can see on Track the Hikers for Wednesday indicates the team is proceeding as expected.

2019 Trip 2 photo taken in the vicinity of where the 2021 Trip 4 team is hiking.
Sheep Lake trail marker. Photo courtesy of Bradford Holley via
Sheep Lake. Photo courtesy of Tom Sedory via

What does it take to get on the trail in the morning?

All hikers help break camp every morning. It takes about two hours to have breakfast, tear down camp, and load the llamas. (As a Parkinson’s hiker, I don’t have the dexterity to operate a stuff sack until my medication kicks in, and that takes 30-60 minutes.) Things Pass to Pass teams do each morning can include:

  • Deflate sleeping pads and pack them into their stuff sacks
  • Pack sleeping bags in their stuff sacks and compression sacks
  • Set up camp stoves and boil water for all hikers for breakfast
  • Take hikers’ temperatures (COVID-19 protocol)
  • Fill hikers’ water bottles for the day
  • Water llamas
  • Take down tents and pack them into their stuff sacks
  • Fold up camp chairs
  • Organize gear llamas will carry (community gear and Parkinson’s hikers’ gear)
  • Pack backpacks. Parkinson’s hikers pack what they need for the day (medication, lunch, water, rain jacket, camera, bathroom kit, personal water filter, trail seat, 10 essentials (for safety and emergencies), etc.). Support hikers carry their own gear.
  • Fill llamas’ panniers (large saddle bags; two per llama)
  • Weigh and adjust llamas’ panniers. Each llama’s panniers must be of equal weight so their load is balanced side to side.
  • Determine hikers’ order for the day (front, llama leaders, sweep, etc.)
  • Distribute walkie talkies and complete radio check (so hikers at the front and back of the group can stay in touch on the trail—faster and slower hikers can end up several miles apart)
  • Saddle llamas and put on llama masks (masks prevent them from eating poisonous plants on the trail)
  • Double check that llama tack is secure
  • Swap llamas’ overnight tether ropes for lead ropes
  • Load panniers onto llama saddles, including camp chairs, llamas’ overnight tethers, and other last-minute items
  • Connect llama pairs (a hiker leads a llama and a second llama’s lead rope is connected to the back of the first llama’s saddle)
  • Close latrine
  • Hit the trail!
2019 Trip 2 photo of llamas on the trail in the vicinity of where the 2021 Trip 4 team is hiking.

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