A story that needs to be told (Part 1 of 4) (Posted 30 November 2012, 08:04pm)

Everyone likes SPAM...

Some of you might remember reading about I'mfine earlier in my blog. In the North Cascades he had an extraordinary adventure. This is part one of his story...

On 22 October - the day after Waldo and I arrived in Canada - Scallywag, Cityfood, Notsobad, Dancingfeet, Doeeyes and Scrubrat all finished the trail. It was a great relief to see them again and to know that they were safe. We spent the night in Manning Park and then all got on the bus to Vancouver. "The last one to Canada wins" had been a running joke and Scrubrat wondered if he might be the winner. "No" I told him, "I'mfine is still out there". I knew I'mfine well, and I knew that nothing would stop him walking to Canada. Given the weather, that was cause for concern.

I had met I'mfine in California, catching a bus back to the trail after resupplying in Mammoth. I was in a bad mood and decided that I didn't like him. It must have shown too because he told me sometime later that he had known. My opinion quickly changed though and I soon grew to appreciate his wacky sense of humour, cheeky grin and refreshing honesty. I even forgave him for giving me a packet of SPAM for my birthday and telling me it was delicious and that everyone liked it. We walked together for a few days before he got ahead of me.

A few weeks later I was sitting at Drakesbad Resort having just spent a week road walking around a section of the trail closed by wildfire. I was waiting for my dinner and was a bit sad to be eating alone - I hadn't seen another hiker since the beginning of the road walk. What the... suddenly someone had me in a headlock! Once I realised it was I'mfine, and not some crazy waiter telling me my dinner was ready, we rejoiced and caught up. I'mfine had also decided to road walk around the fire and had read my entry in the last register. He was pleased to have found another hiker who was staying, "true to the thru", as he put it, and road walking rather than hitch-hiking around the trail closures. We joked that if there was another fire at least we would have company for the road walk.

It turned out that there was another wildfire up ahead the very next day. We once again took to the road and trudged around the fire until midnight. I had found someone as determined and stubborn as me. At least I thought so, because I would soon come to realise I'mfine was much more extreme. The first example was his boots. They were wrecked and the front half of both soles was entirely worn away. Everyone suggested that he get a new pair but no, he had made up his mind that these were his "Cali boots" and they were going to travel with him until Oregon. I witnessed him suffer greatly, including during our 40 mile day, determined to wear the boots for all 1700 miles of California. And of course he did, proudly posting a picture of him and the boots at the state border.

We walked together for a couple of weeks and during this time I'mfine essentially saved my hike. I was rapidly losing weight and couldn't figure out how to reverse the trend. I'mfine carries a legendary amount of food and is also incredibly generous. He started giving me all sorts of food, getting me addicted to a few high calorie things and he helped me with my resupply. By the time we stopped walking together my food bag weighed almost as much as his. In Etna, when we were sorting out our resupply, Notsobad picked up I'mfine's food bag and commented, "your resupply feels a bit light for this section...". "Oh no", I'mfine told him, "that's just my cheese bag". He was the only thru-hiker that I met who had gained weight. Little did we know that this would help save his life a few months later.

I'mfine also liked to sleep in. I would often leave camp before he had emerged, walk the day alone and then get woken up by, "Typo, is that you?", when he wandered into camp. Eventually I had to pick up the pace - I was worried about the weather deteriorating - so I said goodbye to I'mfine in Ashland, thinking he would catch up eventually. He never did so when I finished my walk and headed to Vancouver I waited there, expecting to hear soon that he had made it to Canada. The days ticked by and there was still no word...

You can read part two here.

The Cali boots.


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21 I made it.
15 About to catch the last bus for the season out of Stehekin and planning to walk out of America in four days time on the last day of my visa...
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Blog Archive

30 True to the thru (Part 4 of 4)
30 The waiting game (Part 3 of 4)
30 Something was wrong (Part 2 of 4)
30 A story that needs to be told (Part 1 of 4)
21 "I knew Typo would make it" (Part 6 of 6)
19 Throwing the Hail Mary (Part 5 of 6)
10 Up and down, but not out (Part 4 of 6)
06 Crossing Cutthroat Pass (Part 3 of 6)
03 Warming up in Winthrop (Part 2 of 6)

30 We're sleeping in a toilet (Part 1 of 6)
25 Another radio interview (Audio)
21 I made it
04 Nearly there

29 Trail Magic
19 Walking with Mum

28 Cold food
28 Hello Oregon!
20 40 miles in one day
08 Official trail name: Typo
06 (Humbolt) Summit Fever
06 Road walking around a wildfire

30 Two trail birthdays
18 A picture is worth...
10 Pain and gain in the Sierra

28 Hiker hunger
27 The inquisitive marmot
19 Stage one survived
05 Live from the Mojave (Updated)
04 I just walked 500 miles...

31 Current nemesis: Poodle dog bush
23 Mexico to McDonald's
23 Gear review: Sleeping pad
18 Hot and getting even hotter
12 Videos
12 Wildlife
10 People on the trail: Sunset
05 Eagle Rock
03 Hiker discount: 100%

30 The beginning
25 Final preparation
17 Blogging along the way
16 No publicity is bad publicity
08 Walking before the walk
08 Maps for the trail