Much easier said than done.
In reality, there are many things that interfere with these well intentioned plans. Weather holding me up in towns. Crossing trailheads close to their homes at 10 am on Thursday when everyone is at work. Car trouble. Traffic trouble. Kids in school trouble. In reality, those well intentioned plans sometimes don't plan out.
Fortunately, I was not on a strict schedule to get back home. So when my friend-fest didn't pan out while I was hiking, I could plan a post hike friend-fest with the help of a rental car. A 2017 Volkswagen Beetle I promptly named "George". (The obvious choice of name would be Ringo, but my favorite Beatle song has always been "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". So George it was!)
I was able to reconnect with friends from Massachusetts - Rich and Anne- and their 2 year old son, whom I had not met yet. We were able to take their boat out on the lake on a great, sunny and crisp early autumn day.
I met Shutterbug in Seattle for lunch. I hiked with Shutterbug a little last year, and got a ride into town to find cell service near Kennedy Meadows from his dad, Nomad Max.
I hung out with some friends and former co-workers, Christy and Will. I always KNEW they'd eventually end up in a house on a hill side with chickens and a huge garden, brewing beer and baking bread and coaching soccer for their daughter. I just had to go and see to make sure.
My friend, Dana, just closed on her house. So it was an exciting time to be there. Plus, it was her daughter's birthday! I can think of no better way to spend a visit to an old friend than shopping for birthday party decorations!!
I stopped in Portland for brunch with my hiking buddy Diogenes from the PCT class of 2015.
And then there's my friend, Adam. We have a joke that Adam should open a camp for adult at his house so that others can experience all the things he posts about on Facebook. I hit Camp Adam on a good weekend. We watched football, extracted honey from his hive, and brewed beer in his garage. SWEET!
On these very different visits, there were some constants. 1) Everyone had lots of projects in various states of completion. (The sign of a happy and productive household, in my opinion) 2) Everyone tried to feed me way more food than was necessary. (Sign of an excellent host!) and 3) Everyone had really happy kids. Except Adam, who doesn't have kids. He had really happy bees. The filled a 5 gallon bucket with honey.
Nothing completes an epic adventure quite like seeing old friends.