Day 131: The Last Sunset

Pct mile: 2644.7, 25.2 miles, 8-31-17

It didn’t feel like tomorrow would be the end. Partially because part of me believed that, just maybe, the weather would hold out and we could go back into the Sierra in October. But the odds were against it. I was beginning to get nervous about the Grand Canyon. That occupying my mind might have had something to do with it. My upper body had lost some strength(hikers call it T. rex arms) and I was concerned I would struggle to control an 18 ft raft through the biggest rapids I had ever seen. Mostly, I was just habituated to hiking and couldn’t imagine I wouldn’t be doing it tomorrow. I don’t remember a lot about that day, I remember seeing some wildfires burning in Canada. I remember hiking down to an alpine lake to camp and spending one last evening with our hiker friends eating rehydrated food in a circle in the dark,telling stories and laughing. I remember that I promised to show Peanut the Honey Badger YouTube video and I remember being surprised she had ever heard of it. It was just another day on the trail, really.

I remember the final day better. Fluffy had beaten the rest of us to the small monument that marks the northern terminus and we stopped a hundred yards or so short of the end. Sarah and and I hastily tried to find some music on our phones that would be appropriate for the occasion. The best we could do was a Madonna song that mentioned the wilderness, so we finished our hike to the soundtrack of Like a Virgin. Agame marched in as we continued to play the song and danced over the 49th parallel to it without asking why, she is such a good sport. I remember us passing the log book hidden under the monument around. I didn’t know what to write. Eventually I just scribbled down I don’t know what to say . We finally made it. Hopefully someday I will know what it all meant. But today is not that day and the last day is Sarah’s Day to blog about.

I suppose I will take this opportunity to write a retrospective of sorts as this will be my last blog entry about the PCT. If you are thinking about thru hiking the PCT, I say absolutely do. Make sure you are decent hiking shape and outfitted correctly and any able bodied person can do it. The trail will take care of the rest. You will learn your actual limits of endurance and find them much farther out than you imagined. You will see some incredible things and they will be all the more special because you worked so hard to get there. You will meet all sorts of people from all different walks of life and find there is far more that you have in common than divides you. These people will be mostly white though. There will be a dick or too in there also, but fewer than you thought. I can’t speak to the ease of getting back into real life afterwards though. As of yet, the amount of work I am putting into that could be doubled and it still wouldn’t be half as much effort as I need to apply soon. I think I probably don’t want to face the fact that I will soon have to be working for someone else and I just hate the idea of it.

A guy picked us up outside of Mt Shasta City when we were in Northern California. He had thru hiked the PCT before. He told us to really appreciate what we were doing. He said we would miss it when it was over. I said I would and I tried to but, of course, that is impossible. But he was right. I miss it already. It seems like something I did 100 years ago in a dream. Sometimes I want to put my pack on and just keep hiking, but that is also impossible.

I hope you enjoyed reading our blog. I really enjoyed writing it. I greatly appreciate all of you following along with our adventure. See you in the real world maybe.

8 thoughts on “Day 131: The Last Sunset

  1. Thanks for taking the time to blog your hike. I finished my hike in 2016 and enjoyed replaying the venture through your eyes. You are good writers as well as photographers. Congratulations. I hope to follow the rest of your trip.

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  2. Congrats, I read and enjoyed every entry. I can relate to your feelings of joy and disappointment being finished. When your Dad and I finished our ride across the U.S. I immediately wanted to head back on bicycle and keep riding. It took me several weeks before entering last entry in my journal because I needed to reflect. Back to working reality will be tough but doable. Your both young enough to have many more future adventures. Best regards, Brad

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  3. The spirit of challenge and adventure you and Sarah possess brings so much pleasure to us as you share it in your stories and photos. That spirit will sustain you as you adjust to life beyond the PCT. Your trip “down under” was a good start, was’t it? Love Mom

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