Hi readers! Thanks for all your great questions about my hike. And sorry about the length of this post... I warned you that once I start rambling about the trail, it's hard to get me to shut up. Hopefully these answers will help satisfy your curiosity. Let me know if I forgot anything!
And now, without further ado....
How much planning did you do before the trip?
I only had one month between the time I got laid off from my job to the day I started hiking on the PCT. Most people spend two years or more researching and planning for a thru-hike, so having only a month was a little stressful, especially since I’m rather OCD and NEED to plan out my life in advance. Fortunately, since I didn’t have a job, I had plenty of time to prepare during the day. I had most of the gear I needed already, so most of my time was spent refining my pack and planning out my food drops. (This was a ridiculous task. More on this below.)
I was also fortunate to have a hiking partner who had been doing a few years of research about the PCT, as well as some friends who had hiked it previously. Having them to lean on when I had questions was a huge help. Also, I recommend Yogi’s PCT Thru-hike guide. I read it cover to cover and while the advice should be taken with a grain of salt, overall it is very useful.
How exactly did your food packages work? Did you ship them all in advance or did you tell Tanner when they needed to go out?
I spent a LOT of time prior to the trail figuring out my food. I made sample itineraries, dates I would be arriving in each town and which stops had good grocery stores vs. ones that I needed to mail myself food and/or fuel. For places with little to no food options, I filled a USPS flat-rate box with the number of days of food I would need based on mileage and elevation for the next section. I made a pretty cool spreadsheet that detailed all of this: town stops, elevation gain, mileage, date of arrival (including if I arrived on a weekend or holiday so I would know that the post office would be closed), what was included in each box, and date it needed to be shipped by in order to arrive in time. I addressed and labeled all the boxes and left the spreadsheet with Tanner, so all he had to do was check the list and bring the pre-packaged box to the post office on the date specified. I even left him pre-labeled bags of items (such as cheese) in the fridge so he could just pull them out and add them to the box before mailing. All in all, I made the process very simple and fool-proof for him so that if I couldn’t get in contact with him on the trail, at least I knew I would have food waiting for me at the next town.
Inevitably, for the first few boxes I called him quite a bit to add or subtract items as needed. My food preferences changed quite a lot over the course of the hike and in the end I didn’t like a lot of the things I packaged for myself once I was on trail. When I arrived in Portland, I packaged all my boxes for Washington with the things I knew I liked by then. It was a much easier process the second time around, since I knew what I was doing. All in all, I made and shipped 14 boxes over the course of my trip.
What foods/drinks did you crave on trail? What was your favorite meal on trail? What food did you get tired of?
I started to answer these questions separately and then realized that food for the PCT is a whole post in and of itself. (Cravings, meals, resupply, etc etc) so I'm going to write a more in-depth answer to these in a future post. Stay tuned!
How much did thru-hiking the PCT cost? What did you find you spent the most money on?
They say thru-hiking costs about $2/mile, which would be just over $5,000. I would say most people spend anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000, with $5k being pretty average. Grated, this depends a lot on how you hike your hike. I had a lot of gear before I started, so I didn’t spend as much getting outfitted as a lot of people have to. I would suggest spending your money on a good sleep system, tent and backpack. Everything else is just stuff and it’s going to get trashed anyway, so don’t spend too much on top-of-the-line clothing or anything, since you’ll most likely be going through multiple sets. (Plus, the less you buy, the less you have to carry!)
Actually, gear is only a small percentage of what people spend. Most of your expenses come from staying in towns along the way. Hotels take up a big chunk. And no one told me this, but when you get to town, you’ll eat at MINIMUM four meals. Plus snacks. Plus dessert. Plus midnight grocery store raids. I knew I’d spend a lot of money on food, but I didn’t realize I’d spend MOST of my money on food. You’re just hungry all the time, so you spend to satisfy an incurable beast.
What piece of gear did you think you needed but didn’t? What piece did you not think you needed but did?
I dumped a lot of gear my first day out on trail. It was difficult giving some of it up, but I quickly discovered that I didn’t need any of it. And I hung onto a lot of stuff that I should have gotten rid of then, too. I would say the most notable thing that comes to mind was my solar charger. I was convinced it was going to be worth the 14oz that it weighed, and I had a hard time sending it home. But most people who kept their solar chargers ended up getting rid of them. A backup battery is much lighter and it works just as well, since you’re in towns frequently enough to recharge everything anyway.
I didn’t think I would need gaiters, but I brought a pair of lightweight Dirty Girl brand ones, anyway. Granted, they didn’t keep me from getting filthy (mesh shoes will make your feet dirty no matter what) but by tucking my pants in them, I did manage to keep the amount of dust that blew on my legs to a minimum.
Another piece of gear I didn’t think I needed was a bandana. (I know, right?) I wore a sunhat through the desert so I assumed I wouldn’t need one, though I fortunately brought one, anyway. Bandanas are the amazing jack-of-all-trades in a backpacker’s world. You can literally do everything from blowing your nose to filtering chunks out of your water with it. (Maybe different bandanas..) I was shocked to learn how much snot/ mucus/ blood/ dirt/ sweat came out of every pore in my body in the desert (no one tells you that your nose will bleed for three weeks if you’re not used to dry weather!) so a bandana saved my butt. If it wasn’t in my pocket within close range 24/7 I panicked.
How did you write all your posts along trail?
Writing posts was a surprisingly difficult thing to do. I wasn’t sure the best way to go about it in the beginning, so I tried several different approaches. At the start of the trip I was determined to keep a hand-written journal. I had a bunch of loose paper I would write on every single night and then mail home to myself when I got to town. After 1,000 miles I had written over 200 pages worth. I also tried to write a daily post on my phone so that when I had internet signal I could post it online.
I attempted this method for the first half of my trip. It was stressful and time consuming to write every day, but in the desert I could often keep myself caught up by writing during our afternoon siestas. Once I was in Northern California and we were walking 28 miles every day, it was much harder to keep up with my journal. I stopped hand-writing pages every night (this saved some weight, too, since I didn’t have to carry paper) and instead I just kept notes on my phone about each day and updated my online journal when I was in town. Town days can be really stressful too, though, and sometimes I didn’t have the chance to update my blog. There were a few times (such as in Bend) when I spent a whole zero-day writing a month of entries to post daily while I was walking. I hated writing blog entries on my phone since the screen was so small, so I gave up writing them on trail after a while. It was much easier to do it on a computer screen, especially since I can be verbose sometimes. There were a number of people on trail who faithfully kept up their blogs even while walking 30 miles/day and I have no idea how they did it. I was usually too exhausted to do anything but sleep at the end of the day.
How did you remember all that happened to create a post every day?
I kept notes for myself so I could look back and write the entries. Though they weren’t very detailed notes, I was surprised how much I could remember about every day. Your memory does crazy things on trail. When you’re living so completely in the present, it’s amazing what you can recall. I could write myself a note like, “climbed 5,000 feet in the first ten miles today and stopped by a stream for a snack break” and I would be able to remember every step of the climb, envision what the views were, who I was walking with, and how I was feeling. It’s incredible what the mind remembers when you’re so fully immersed in your own life. I can still play back every day on trail and remember minute details like it was yesterday. It’s like having a super power!
Did you see any wildlife along that way that scared you? Most specifically... snakes?!
I saw a lot of wildlife on trail, but nothing truly terrifying. Bears and rattlesnakes may have been the worst, but even they weren’t that bad. I have had many encounters with black bears on the east coast, and I’m still not that big of a fan of them. Fortunately, they hate noise and if you yell at them, they’ll leave you alone. Thru-hikers see a lot of bears but very rarely have issues with them. You just want to make sure to be vigilant about your food storage.
Rattlesnakes I was worried about if only because I had never encountered one and I was really nervous about getting bitten. But after the first few encounters, the fear goes away. The nice thing about rattlesnakes is that they do NOT want to have contact with you. They have a nice, loud warning that you can hear from far away, and you’re only too happy to give them some space. The rest of the snakes on trail were very small and harmless, and they never bothered anyone. They also don’t live above 10,000 feet, so when you’re in the mountains you don’t have to worry about them. I had heard rumors about snakes crawling into your sleeping bag if you cowboy camped, which terrified me, but after cowboy camping a few nights, I realized this is very unlikely. The joys of sleeping out under the stars eventually completely outweighed my fear of snakes (and I am a big wuss). After a while, you learn to co-habitate peacefully with the wildlife on trail, and for the most part, if you don’t bother them, they don’t bother you. Honestly, the biggest pain in my ass were the ants in Southern California. Those bastards are EVERYWHERE. They truly rule the planet.
Other cool animals I saw on trail included: marmots, rock pikas, horny toads (SO CUTE), elk, deer, pine martens, white scorpions (only while night hiking), rattlesnakes, gopher snakes, garter snakes, black bears, gray fox, mountain goats, cattle, bald eagles, hummingbirds, ravens, grouse (scared the shit out of me the first time I heard one. It sounds like a grunting bear), mountain chickadees, stellar jays, quail (actually, birds of ALL kinds, but I can’t name them all), crawfish, lizards, banana slugs, butterflies, squirrels and chipmunks. I also saw mountain lion and bobcat tracks in the sand but never saw one (they’re quite elusive).
What were your biggest fears before starting the trail? Were they unfounded or come true?
I had a couple main issues before I started hiking. In retrospect, they seem kind of silly, but they worried me enough to keep me up at night and wondering if I shouldn’t hike the trail after all.
First, I hate sleeping outside. Yeah, I said it. I’m a really light sleeper and I wake up at anything. Literally. If some tree branch snaps outside my tent, I’m wide awake and my mind is screaming BEAR! BEAR! BEAR! I hate it. I have the craziest imagination and it sucks sometimes. I was petrified about spending every night for five months inside a little piece of nylon, as if it would protect me from bears and snakes and other wildlife that wanted to kill me.
In reality, you hardly ever get bothered at night. And even bears leave you alone when you yell at them. I also found that I was so exhausted every night that I passed out within seconds of lying down. I started to enjoy sleeping outdoors, and even grew to love cowboy camping. It’s hard to be frightened of the dark when the stars are so bright. Now I miss my tent... sleeping indoors on a soft bed feels too stuffy, too luxurious.
The other thing I was wary about was hitchhiking. I had no interest in it, and even went so far as to think about walking to towns rather than catching a lift. This was another fear that was quickly abandoned. For one thing, I made sure to never hitch alone, and this made me more comfortable. For another thing, almost every “big, scary” city on the west coast is situated on the coast, and every town that is over the mountain range, in line with the PCT, is tiny. Therefore, all the locals are well versed with thru-hiker tradition, and if they see you hitching, they know why. I met some of the nicest people on hitches to town.
How long does it take to “earn” a trail name?
Most people had trail names after two weeks. In retrospect, this is SO fast. But when you’re on trail, two weeks feels like forever. Every day has so much going on that after a week in the desert you could swear you’ve been out there a month. Ideally, you should get your trail name after spending enough time with the people around you that they can name you accurately, based on some silly story you told or trait you have. Otherwise you end up getting stuck with a name like “Commando” or “Irish” just because you wear a kilt, or “Giant” or “Bigfoot” just because you’re tall.
Overall, having a trail name is a great part of the spirit of the PCT. It's not just a "nickname", it's your second identity, your second true name. It represents the life you have outside your life. The trail challenges you to your very core, and like a true spirit journey, you are reborn with a new name.
What was the toughest part physically and mentally?
Physically, central California and Washington are the two hardest sections. Although, looking back, I don’t remember the Sierras being that difficult. Of course, I know they WERE, but I was just so enamored by the mountains that I didn’t even care. Also, we were only pulling 16 mile days, which made life a lot easier. Washington I recall being much harder, because the terrain was difficult and we were doing 20-25 miles every day, and it was the final stretch of our journey so it was annoying to get crushed by the trail after killing it for so long.
Mentally, the beginning and the end were the hardest for me. I don’t do well with heat, so the desert was a very difficult struggle for me. I thrive in places with water and mountains, and Southern California had neither of those. Since it was the start of a very long journey, I had to battle some strong inner-demons to keep myself motivated every day. But once I hit my stride, the trail became much more enjoyable for me. The end of the trip was also mentally exhausting because of all the logistics with the weather and trying to finish at the border. It was very emotionally trying and though I wouldn’t change anything about my journey, it was a difficult dream to let go.
Did the trail ever get easier? (For example, was day five harder than day fifty?)
I don’t think the trail ever gets “easier.” It does, however, get “less hard.” In the beginning you’re dragging yourself through the miles and the weather, but after a while, your body gets stronger and you find you can suffer through a lot more. I had this grand vision that someday, when I had been hiking for a month and I was physically fit, that I would be able to scale mountains at a run with a full pack on. This is not the case. Uphill climbs are always hard, no matter how long you’ve been hiking, and most likely, your pace won’t change. (This was a bummer for me, since I hike slow. The most I accomplished was 2mph at the beginning to 2.5mph by the end) The main difference I noticed was that my endurance was higher. I hated climbs, but I could get through five miles of uphill without stopping for a break because my legs could handle it. But they were never fun.
A friend of mine summed up a thru-hike well for me. He said: “the longer you hike, the stronger you get, but at the same time, the longer you hike, the more your body starts to break down.” It’s a strange dichotomy, that even as you get stronger, your body is also falling apart, piece by piece. Things just start hurting and never stop. You learn to live with it.
How much did you train before starting the trail? Could you hike 20 mile days right away?
Ugh, I hate to admit this, but I didn’t really train at all. I tried to, but really anything you do at home is just not going to accurately duplicate the severity of Southern California (unless you live there). My first three weeks on trail were nothing short of hellish. I was tired, I had no appetite, I felt ill from the heat, I had no energy, I was thirsty, I had blisters all over my feet, I was in pain most of the time, I was hot and stumbling along the trail every day. I can see why a lot of people quit early on - between the heat and the long miles and the lack of water, it’s a mental battle as much as a physical one. The only reason I made it through was my own tenacity: I was too stubborn to quit. That’s really all it takes to accomplish a thru-hike, is the desire to keep yourself going, even when the going gets tough. On my hardest days I just kept thinking about all the people back home who were rooting for me, and who believed in me. This was strong enough incentive to keep going: I wanted to make everyone proud and I knew I couldn’t live with myself if I let them (or me!) down.
I couldn’t do 20 mile days right away. I did 20 miles my first day out, and then after that dropped down to 11-16 miles a day. Even that was a stretch sometimes. Fortunately I had an equally stubborn hiking partner who kept me going even when I didn’t want to. I doubt I would have made it through the desert without her there, so I’m thankful for that. After three weeks I finally regained my appetite and grew some stronger hiking legs, and life was considerably better after that (though not necessarily easier.)
I’m curious about how your body adapts to a strenuous hike - did you lose a lot of weight on trail? Can “unfit” people thru-hike?
I lost about 10 pounds on trail. Most of it was lost in the first month, and after that my weight stayed pretty stable, even considering how much food I was eating. There weren’t many scales or mirrors available on trail, so it’s hard to say how much my weight fluctuated. The only gauge I had that I was losing weight was that my pants were growing looser. The first time I saw myself in a mirror was shocking - my face had grown a lot slimmer, too. I loved it - I stress about food and exercise at home, and being on trail was like having a free pass. All I had to do was walk every day and I could eat whatever I wanted. It was wonderful.
Almost everyone loses weight on trail. How much you lose depends on how heavy you are to start with. I had a couple of friends on trail who lost anywhere from 30-50 pounds, proving that even if you are out of shape, you can hike the PCT. All you need is some fortitude and a love of walking, and you can make it. The trail will eventually whip everyone into shape. In general, guys lose a lot more weight than women do. Women become more muscular, while men turn into skinny bean poles. You do want to be very careful that you’re eating enough. Some people have this mindset that the trail is a great “workout”, but it is NOT a diet. If you eat less, you won’t have the energy to keep hiking. We were consuming anywhere from 2,000-5,000 calories a day in food and still losing weight. I found that hiking the PCT put me more in tune with my body and what it was craving, and when it needed food, and what would happen if I didn’t get the calories I needed to keep walking. It was really fascinating.
How easy is it to get lost on the PCT? How did you navigate?
The PCT is a very well marked trail and it’s very simple to navigate 95% of the time. That being said, we did carry maps and a GPS phone app that kept us on trail. I’m going to go into more detail on this in another post, so stay tuned for more info!
How did your expectations differ from the actuality of hiking long distance?
The main thing I wanted to get out of my thru-hike was a sense of community and a chance to be out in the wild for five months. I received both of these things, to a degree I did not expect. I knew the people of the trail were a huge part of why you’d hike long distances, but I did not realize what a strong bond you create in such a short period of time. Because you’re all suffering and triumphing together every day, you become very close. You share an experience that only those people can relate to. I’m a pretty guarded and introverted person most of the time - I have a hard time expressing/showing my feelings and emotions out loud - so it was interesting to me to see how barriers and facades completely crumble when you’re out on trail. There’s just no way to hide if you’re tired, or grumpy, or hungry, or elated, so you share your “true self” to everyone, whether you want to or not. A friend of mine told me upon returning home that I talk a lot more than I used to. Over the few months I spent off the grid, I grew accustomed to saying whatever I wanted and being accepted for it by the people around me. It’s a very freeing and honest way to live.
What I didn’t expect was the outpouring of human kindness along the trail. I knew about trail angels, of course, but I never expected the amount of magic they bestowed on us, and to the degree they did: opening up their homes, their backyards, giving us food, showers, rides, laundry, a place to stay... some angels, like the Sauffley’s in the desert, even cart in something like an extra 300 gallons of water for thru-hikers to shower when they come through. And most of these expenses from their own pocket, as even our donations could hardly compensate. It’s truly amazing, the goodness of people.
What were your favorite parts of the trail? (Do you have any recommendations for shorter backpacking trips?)
The whole trail is nothing short of amazing. It’s hard to pick an absolute “favorite” section, because I loved all of them for different reasons (even the desert!) I would say if I were forced to choose, I would go with these three:
1. The Sierra Nevadas. It’s easy to see why the John Muir section of the PCT is a favorite for backpackers. It’s stunning - gorgeous mountains, lakes, blue skies, vistas... it has it all. Plus, arriving in the Sierras after 700 miles of desert was just breath-taking. It was completely worth the months of heat and dehydration just to walk among those peaks for a few weeks. I would go back in a heartbeat.
2. Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Glacier Peak Wilderness. Despite having horrible weather and difficult terrain 50% of the time I was walking through Washington, I was completely in love with it. Everything north of Snoqualmie Pass (the Northern Cascades) was breathtaking. The towering mountains in all directions were beautiful, and for some reason felt so much more remote than any other part of the trail.
3. Goat Rocks Wilderness. Though technically we walked through the whole wilderness in one day, it’s worth a return trip. The PCT only goes through a very small part of the park and the views are incomparable. Despite being terrified most of the time I was walking the knife’s edge, I looked forward to Goat Rocks for 2200 miles and I wasn’t disappointed.
If I had to pick other small sections that would be great for smaller backpacking trips I would recommend the San Jacinto Mountains to Whitewater Preserve near Idyllwild, CA, the Vasquez Rocks area near Agua Dulce, CA, the Crater Lake and Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon, and the section between Snoqualmie Pass and Steven’s Pass in Washington. But it’s hard to go wrong.
What were your favorite trail towns?
I loved trail towns!! Most of them were tiny and adorable and easily walkable, which is a huge plus for people who don’t have cars. I kept saying I want to take a road trip someday and visit all the towns I stopped through along my journey. Some notable favorites include, California: Julian (so adorable. Amazing pie), Idyllwild (rustic, full of pine trees and cabins, which I loved, so cute), Bishop (the views of the Cascades are amazing), Etna (so tiny. So cute.) Oregon: Ashland (hippie central. I wanted to stay there forever!), Bend (what’s not to love about Bend?!), Portland (duh), Washington: Trout Lake (if you want to know why, read my blog post about the people/trail magic we received there. I still tear up.) Stehekin (a little town on the lake with an amazing bakery... done.)
Actually, it’s funny: most of what thru-hikers remember about towns is the food. Ask about what we did there, and we’ll regale you with all the amazing places we ate. Picking the right restaurants for each of our four daily meals was a very, very important decision.
What do you think about when you’re walking all day? Don’t you get bored??
Believe it or not, I didn’t have a single bit of music for the first 1,000 miles of my journey. Most people listen to their iPods while walking through the desert to keep themselves entertained. I was determined not to - mainly for two reasons: I didn’t want to get sick of my music, and I wanted to be able to hear the world around me (ie, rattlesnakes.)
Of course, one month in I was desperate for entertainment. I told myself the sounds of nature would be enough, but you grow quickly jaded by it (much to the shock of the dayhikers you run into, who think listening to iPods on trail is blasphemy.) I finally compromised and put podcasts and audio books on my phone, which turned out to be very entertaining, because they were always different and interesting. I found I listened to them a lot more when the trail was boring - I went through endless podcasts the whole time I was in Oregon because the trail was so flat and monotonous. In places like the Sierras and Washington, I didn’t really have a need to listen to anything because I was too focused on the scenery and the difficult terrain.
When I wasn’t listening to something, I thought about all kinds of stuff. Mostly about the trail - I did a LOT of math in my head, everything from how many miles I had hiked to how many I had left, to how fast I was going, to how fast I’d have to go in order to make it a certain number of miles by a certain time, etc etc. It began to sound like a high school physics class test. (“If Bramble leaves camp at 8 am hiking at 2.8 mph and she has 24.67 miles to go to camp, how many hours will it take her to get there, assuming she takes a 10 minute break every two hours and 30 min for lunch?”) I got really good at it, actually. I was to the point where I could calculate how long it took me to walk 1/10 of a mile, so when my GPS told me I was 7.6 mile from town, I knew exactly what time I would be there, down to the minute. Sometimes this was satisfying and sometimes this was frustrating, for example, if you reeeeeally want to make it there faster and you know you just can’t. The numbers never lie. If you suck at math I suggest hiking the PCT. It will turn you into a top-notch student.
When I wasn’t thinking about the trail, I thought about the things I wanted to do when I got home. I hardly ever thought about “real life” - that just meant bills and work and all that, something I didn’t want to focus on (even though I hoped I would discover my “true career” on trail, I never thought about it even once). Instead, I thought about living in a lake house someday with Tanner and sitting on the porch painting next to the water. Or I thought about car camping, bringing stuff like CHAIRS and GRILLS and HAMMOCKS. Or I thought about the next adventures I wanted to take. In the desert I dreamed a lot about water. Or I wrote novels in my head. Out in the wild, I felt like I could do anything. Go anywhere. Be anyone. It was immensely satisfying. Sometimes I would pick a topic to think about. We would joke about it in the mornings before leaving camp - “what are you going to think about today?” and see how long you could stay on one tangent. Your mind is a weird place when you’re stuck with it all day.
What would you do differently if you hiked the trail a second time around?
A couple main things come to mind.
1. I would send fewer resupply boxes to myself. I got tired of most everything I made for myself in advance. Shopping more in towns allows you more creativity with your food cravings, and when you’re on trail, you think about food a LOT. If it makes or breaks your happiness, why chance it? And knowing now what I do about towns, it would be much easier to plan a second time around.
2. I would bring less stuff. Or at least get lighter stuff. I consistently had a heavy backpack and carrying less weight ultimately makes your journey easier. Sounds like a simple concept, but a lot of people (including me) think “but I need this!!” and carry extraneous gear “just in case.” Most of it is unnecessary. Plus, it’s annoying to have to pack up every morning, so if you have less stuff to pack, it doesn’t take as long. Win win!
3. I would make some adjustments to my gear. Knowing what I do now about weather and conditions in each of the sections, I could tailor my stuff more accurately - footwear, clothing pieces, rain gear, etc.
4. I would train more before leaving. It would make the start of the trip more enjoyable if I wasn’t fighting terrain, weather AND an out-of-shape body.
5. I would start earlier and go slower. The unfortunate thing about the PCT is that you’re always racing the weather. You usually have to start in late April so you don’t get to the Sierras too early, in case they still have snow. But on dry years like this summer, I think if I had started earlier in April it would have made the conditions in Washington easier.
6. It's funny.... while I was hiking the trail I kept telling myself, "why do people hike this trail more than once? Everyone who finishes immediately wants to do it again. But I have no desire to ever do this again." And that statement was true for most of my journey. Yes, I was having a good time, but no, I wouldn't willingly do the hardest thing I have ever done in my life a second time. What am I, a masochist??
But as Starfox kept telling us, the PCT is known as "type two fun." Fun you have only after you've finished having it, and not during. Now that I'm off trail, now that I'm looking back and remembering it... it's hard to forget the wonderful moments and easy to forget the terrible ones. And I know if someone asked me again if I wanted to hike the PCT a second time, believe it or not, I would say yes.
Thanks everyone! I hope you enjoyed it! I'll be returning to my regular posting schedule of Mon/Wed/Fridays, so I'll see you in a couple days!