Back in the fall of 2018 a friend from California called me:
“I didn’t think this would happen but I somehow won an eBay auction on this VW van out in Connecticut. Any chance you want to come with me and pick it up?” He inquired.
“This sounds like fun. I’m free next month, how does that work with your schedule?”
“Ehhh. Unfortunately, I have to pick it up within the next three days. I guess you could say I wasn’t really planning on winning it.”
I’ve now had this conversation a number of times. But not in regards to VW vans, but with Grand Canyon permits. What happens is a follow-up lottery is issued by the NPS, and in that follow-up lottery is a date that is right around the corner. And by right around the corner, it’s within less than a week. A friend will apply for reasonable dates in the future (follow-up lotteries typically have a number of date options) and then they decide, what the hell, might as well apply for this date too. And then they win it. They’re ecstatic. And then they say oh shit as they realize they need to tell their significant other that they’re leaving in a few days for a multi-week trip. And from there, the list of things that need to get done begins to grow. Organizing a shuttle. Finding equipment. Finding friends that can drop everything and join them. Don’t forget about the food buy too. It’s a bit of a panic.
The goal of this post is to help you stay organized by focusing on the high-level hurdles to get this trip on the water. It’s not a standard packlist that includes sunblock or postcards for Phantom Ranch. The goal is to ease your panic by getting you organized quickly in order of importance.