Mile 1350 to 1375, 25 miles
Total PCT miles, 2381
Well, it appears the trail crew was correct. There is a bunch of snow this morning. I slept pretty warmly though, so it’s not too bad. I take that back… The very first thing I have to do this morning is ford a river, and then walk through several inches of snow with my wet shoes and socks, yay.
Despite my freezing feet, the morning is gorgeous. Snow always transforms things so dramatically. Before too long though, I enter a long, flat, burn area. Even the snow can’t make this section pretty. That’s ok though, I’m on a mission speeding through the powder to my finish line.
I stop for a short lunch on a snowy log before finally starting my last descent. The snow, which has been coming and going all morning, turns to rain as I cruise down the mountainside. I keep waiting to be overwhelmed by feelings, but for most of the afternoon I just feel tired. Unexpectedly, as I’m crossing through an unlovely, soaked meadow, “The Sound of Silence” comes up on shuffle, and I start crying near hysterically in the rain. It’s not pretty or triumphant crying either. It’s like a faucet is turned on, and everything I thought I’d been processing jumbles out in a teary, snotty mess. Before I can begin to make sense of it, the feeling has passed. I’m still in the meadow with what I can only think of as WTF face. Is this the culmination of the last five and a half months, or just the beginning. What am I supposed to feel now anyway. I guess I’ll figure it out as I go along. That’s always been my strong suit anyway.
I arrive in Old Station, ready to sit down and wait for my family. After a minute I realize it looks different, and I’m actually still 3 miles from my destination. Damn it! Oh well, I put my pack back on and road walk the last 3 miles. After grabbing a couple snacks in a gas station station, I plop down on a picnic table to wait for my family. This doesn’t feel like the end at all. I’d blame it on the fact that I’m not finishing at a terminus, but I’ve read about other people having similar experiences regardless of where they finish. Things take time to process, and completing this trail is a lot to process.
A short while later my family arrives. My mom and sister are ecstatic, especially my mom. I’m self conscious about my level of filth and body odor for the first time in a long time, but they don’t care (too much). After some pictures, I’m in the car, and just like that, my long walk is actually over. I’m not exactly sure what comes next, but it will come whether I know what it is or not.
I just wanted to thank everyone who read along sharing this amazing, strange walk with me. You’ve seen my Disney princess self make a bizarre transformation into rugged hiker trash. Though this is my last blog detailing my day to day life on trail, I still have some writing left to do. Hopefully I’ll put together an artsy-fartsy post soon where I wax poetic about the whole experience. This has been the hardest and coolest thing I’ve ever done, and I’m glad I was able to share it all with you.
“Stand and be true.” -Stephen King