How do you survive a 1200 mile walk through the wilderness filled with Bears?  Good question and I don’t have the answer.  But Kent L. will be able to fill me in by Thanksgiving.  Kent is my 19 year old nephew and he is solo hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail, which starts on the east side of Glacier National Park and ends on the Washington State Pacific Coast, a ways north of Seattle.  The hike traverses some very rough, remote country.  And while there are some trail markers, there is also the need to “bush whack” regularly.

Watch for bears!

Last spring, Kent graduated from high school in Virginia and instead of going directly to the University this fall, he decided to take a gap year to do this fall trek and to work some also through the coming spring and summer.

Kent spent some time preparing and planning for the trip.  Every piece of his equipment was thoughtfully selected, including his frisbee and fishing pole!  He prepared his pack so it would be as light as possible, but still allow for the basics so he can eat and sleep in all conditions.  Kent made several innovative changes to equipment to reduce weight.  For example, he is not carrying a tent and instead he is packing a lightweight tarp or rain fly and his walking poles double as tent poles for the night.  Kent organized some re-provisioning points where boxes of ready-to-eat pouches are sent ahead of his arrival.  So he usually hikes with no more than a weeks’ worth of food in his backpack.

Kent on the trail
Kent on the trail

Kent started the trek around the 10th of August.  He hopes to make it to the ocean by the end of October.  There are many variables involved and Kent knows that he might not be able to make the whole trek this fall.  The weather is a huge variable and if snow flies early, it may impede our adventurer and lead to a change of plans.

Kent’s parents were a little unsettled when Kent made his mind up that he was going to hike the trail.  It’s bear country and hiking alone through wilderness poses risks.  A lot of things can happen.  To keep his parent’s up-to-date on his progress and also as a safety measure, Kent set up an account with a satellite telephone company.  He sends one text each day saying he is safe at the end of each day.  And he turns on his beacon usually at least twice a day.  With the beacon, you can follow Kent on his odyssey.  Go to:  I just checked and he just crossed the border into the State of Washington (August 28th).

The regular texts and the beacon locations give the parents some degree of comfort, but Kent has to be a problem solver.  Due to a Montana forest fire, he was evacuated by the Forest Service, and the trail was closed for about 3 days.  I just heard that at one camp over, a dastardly, motley crew staying at the same camp ground stole some of his equipment (maybe bears are the least of the danger he is facing).

Kent is very selective about what he eats.  He wants quality calories and he wants tasty food.  Kent is a huge fan of GringoCool’s “Cold Pressed Elixir”, our top quality Spanish, 100% organic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).  He packs the extra virgin olive oil to cook with and also he puts it on bread and vegetables.  When I learned that Kent was treking with our Spanish organic EVOO, I asked him to send me several photos and he kindly obliged.  Below are several photos of Kent preparing his meals with GringoCool olive oil.

The perfect flavor enhancer – GringoCool extra virgin olive oil

We wish Kent safe travels and look forward to hearing about some of his adventures.  Good luck Kent!

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”.  Kent is admirable.  He is doing it!

Thanks for reading. – Steve




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