What am I feeling? No, really… I’m asking… because I’m not sure… I’ve definitely got a bazillion things running through my mind about all of the events and alternate endings that happened this last week, and the stuff still going on – and not just with how I’m processing and trying to wrap up my journey. There were hikers being air-lifted out from the snow storms further south, two were missing and now found and safe – thank God! We’ve still got some friends out hiking toward the monument, but it sounds really promising that they’re going to make it – I’m so excited and anxious to hear from them! So a lot has been going on. There’s been more celebration, more good byes and finally, a road trip back to the states.
I was really happy to have the opportunity for one more hike, especially because it was a hike to the monument with Cuddles and Atlas. We got going pretty early and had a really nice hike. As we rounded a bend in the trail just before the monument, Cuddles turns around with a big smile and exclaims, “Chosen One is here!” He’s the first one to come through from the south to the monument since the snowstorm. I felt like I was meeting a hero. He said it was the toughest thing he’d ever done – he broke his own trail trail the whole time, and he postholed even though he had snow shoes on. So exhausting! So amazing! It also made us feel good to think the rest that head out into that would be finishing soon too, especially having that path already blazed for them – Chosen One, you rock!
We took some photos, ate some snacks, and talked about some of our adventures and what a great summer it’s been… it’s quite hard to really put this all into words, at least for now. I have so many mixed emotions about so many different things. I hope to start organizing it all soon.
After a little bit a few more hikers showed up after hiking in from Manning Park like we did. Scout came first, then Chosen One’s friend, Josh. Then Lighthouse – he was running, shouting, smiling snd jumping. After him was Haggis and Running Commentary and Jes’s dad. I wish I could keep hiking out here every day to keep this excitement level alive in me for just a little longer… and a little longer… okay, maybe I’m having a hard time letting go. Maybe I never will. Maybe I’ll be back. Maybe… maybe… probably…
The hike back felt like it went quick. We talked so much about the places we’ve been – our favorite place on the trail, favorite towns, favorite restaurants, favorite pizza… food. Oh, and more food talk. Then more. We were hungry and excited to get our hands on those Caeser Salad-flavored potato chips from the store. Aloha was waiting for us when we arrived, we piled into the Pickle Jar, visited the gift shop and got our chips, bought drinks to go woth them, and got on the road toward Seattle… I gazed at the mountains as we drove past, secretly and sadly thinking, “but… I’m not done with you, mountains… I’m going to really miss you…”
Sigh… I hope this doesn’t get too hard.
At the border crossing, we were asked to present our “Entrance to Canada via the PCT” papers, which we were quite surprised by. He said he’d be turning them back over to Canada so they know we were done with the trail. It was kind of cool that the guy was familiar at all with our endeavor. I’m glad I didn’t toss my permit – although I’m not sure it would’ve mattered. We flew through the crossing without any issues. Before I knew it, we were in Seattle saying good-bye to Cuddles. It really didn’t seem so bad. We said good-bye as if we’d see him again soon. I don’t know if it will be soon, but I’m pretty certain we’re going to be keeping in touch. Atlas, Aloha and I went just a bit further to a hotel, and I’ll have to say a similar good-bye to Atlas tomorrow.
I have made so many good friends out here, and it really does feel like a family. Cuddles was talking about how it’s a good idea to keep a thread going from this journey and not just cutting it off and saying it’s over… I like that thought. It never has to be over. Maybe our PCT 2013 family plus some incredible memories will be that thread.
Tonight I’m gonna’ put out some love for new friends. PCT Class of 2013 – seriously, I love you guys! Awesome year! When can we go again!?
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!