Sixty miles short

Mon. 10/7/13


I just simply miss the trail... already.

I think it’s time for me to write about this. I’m 60 miles short of a continuous PCT thru hike, and it’s going to be that way until I can find a big chunk of vacation in the next couple of years to hike it.

I’ve thought about it, reassured myself it’s okay, cried because it’s over, laughed snd smiled at memories, regretted not pushing through, and I still come to the same conclusion. An unsure, wavering conclusion that I’m done hiking the PCT this year, and that I’ve made all the right decisions when they were placed before me to make. It’s still a hard reality to face when I’m physically so close to that 60-mile gap. Well, if a 6-hour drive out of Portland is considered close. That would be just to get me to the trailhead, which is probably closed for the government shutdown. Adam would have to drive back into Canada again. We’d have to make phone calls to see if I can get my entrance papers back. Arrest in Canada isn’t an option – and it’s entirely a possibility if I didn’t have those papers. There’s already a story of a hiker I know that was arrested for entering Canada via Ross Lake. He was released back to the US, but it doesn’t sound like it was a very fun ordeal. Oh, and there’s a bunch of snow out there, and apparently another weather front is coming in that may drop more snow, requiring snowshoes and possibly ice axes.

Thinking about all of those logistics makes me feel tired. Hiking that beautiful section of trail makes me feel excited. Laying low and cuddling with Adam makes me feel relaxed.


So why such an unsure, wavering decision that I’m done? A group of other hikers I know made it through those last 60 miles, and I just read on Facebook that a few others I know are heading out tomorrow for another go – it’s Fun Size, Banana Ripper and Songbird. They reached out to see if anyone wanted to join them. Um… yes. These are three people I would love to jump in with and finish. So why don’t I, right? I don’t know. Its the drive to get there. I’m looking forward to continuing the down-time Aloha and I have just began. I already handed in those papers to legally enter Canada via the PCT. Our budget is running out. We’re anxious to get home to see family and friends whom we’ve missed. And it would feel good to stomp my foot down, smile, and just confidently say, “It’s been a great journey. I’m satisfied, happy and ready to go home.”

And so it is. That’s what I’m going to try to do. I might be in tears five minutes from now when I think of HOW CLOSE I was again… but for now, it’s okay. After talking with Adam and thinking more about it, I think I’m already missing trail life in a really bad way, and that is what is really powering my emotional rollercoaster and affecting my ability to make a confident decision. There are 60 miles that I could hike, and it might make me feel better if I just did it, but it would most likely be temporary anyway. I’d be in this same position afterwards, missing the trail and wondering when I can come back. I like how Cuddles put it for me – now it’s open to come back – I’ve got a really good excuse to come back and try again one day. It’s a pretty good thought, isn’t it? I sure think so…

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!

With love,
Toots Magoots
(Robin Grapa)


5 thoughts on “Sixty miles short

  1. Hey Toots!! Just want you to know i understand how you feel and have been grappling with the same questions and feelings…. i hiked from mexico to canada and im really proud of that but i still think about getting to that dang monument! i struggle with thougghts of getting back on trail and giving it a go…i ask myself if i can truly say i thru hiked the pct? i definitely think there is a lesson in thiforus….the whole journey versus the destination thing….about finding closure when somethings been left uncompleted…its almost like a badbreakup!! in the end we walked well over 95% percent of the trail , had an awesome adventure and lived to tell the tale so cheers to that! good luck with this tough transition ….at least we are all in it together.!! ~Coincidence p.s. Getting arrested wasnt fun at all!!

  2. That was going to be one of my questions to you – how were you doing with not completing it.

    I am an engineer, a type A person. A younger me would have been doing whatever I could to finish those 60 miles because that’s how I am/ was.

    But the older, wiser (43 years old) me has learned to chill out a bit – take pleasure in my accomplishments, even if they aren’t perfect. You did an amazing job. Were it not for mother nature and massive amounts of snow, you most likely would have made it. You cannot control that, nor can you control the government shut down.

    Not sure if it’s time, age, or my kids who have caused me to chill out. Anyway, it’s good!

  3. Dear Undecided, as you know as a veteran hiker of past “post hike decompressing”, this to shall pass (not) you are healthy, unscathed, and not arrested be satisfied with your decision, you did it and we all want you guys back in the beer and cheese country. yours truly Abby Pappy

  4. Robin, you made the right decision and yes you can always go back and do it again or just do the sixty. You and Adam have a plan and the next part of your adventure is going to be new and exciting too. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I can only speak for myself on this one, but one trail always leads to another, and then another, and never really has an end, just a few breaks here and there that can last years sometimes, and there always seems to be the regret that I didn’t take a side trip to an unknown lake or hidden valley that is seldom visited so I always seem to find myself going back for more. The trail never ends..

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