What I’m up to now

J and I got back to Tucson and started looking for a new place to live. My friend Lyndall let us camp out in her spare bedroom until we found a place, which was a huge help. We ended up finding a cute little house south of Downtown that had been split into a duplex. The front yard is classic Tucson – neat and totally bare dirt – so I asked our landlord if we could plant a garden out front. He said yes. It’s now a lush jungle of tomatoes, greens and sunflowers. Read More

And then what?

Day 2 of the rest of my life…

In the morning we head back to the greyhound station and buy tickets to Seattle. We stop at a pharmacy on the way and buy some motion sickness pills – hopefully things will go better today. Tailor ends up being on the same bus as us, and we re-enter the US. Tailor, a German, gets grilled at customs by a confused agent who eventually only lets him through when he sees that everyone else is already back on the bus and waiting for him. My customs agent asks me what my trail name is and waves me through.
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A post-PCT hangover

Day: 1??

We catch the greyhound to Vancouver in the morning, along with Tintin, Smokey, and Tailor. Everyone else is going to stay another day. My newly acquired motion-sickness has only gotten worse, it seems. I have to sit up ramrod straight, stare exactly straight ahead, and focus on keeping it together for the entire bus ride. I tried to buy some dramamine or something at one of the bus depots, but they only sell drugs in pharmacies in Canada. Even tylenol. What is wrong with this place.

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Day 158: The End, or, The Beginning

Day 158
Miles: 16
From Hopkins Lake to Manning Park. The end of the trail.

It’s morning, we’re 6 miles from the monument, and I’m stoked! Any questions about my ability to make it – all the way – to the very end – are finally gone. I’ve got this. All six of us camped here get up and hang out in the beautiful morning by the lake. My resentment of the dude-bros arrival last night has evaporated, and I spend the morning enthusiastically discussing gear and the trail and just generally dude-bro-ing it up myself. (We all have a little dude-bro in us.) J, like always, just rolls his eyes as I get into the nitty-gritty of tarp camping with Snake Charmer. I don’t care that we’re basically done. I really do just like to talk about gear.
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Day 157: Last whole day

Day 157
Miles: 18
From below Tamarack Peak to Hopkins Lake

It was cold last night – it’s chilly this morning, with the sharp bite of fall that has been with us for the last few weeks. I crawl out of the tarp to get some water from the frigid stream nearby, and emerge into an incandescent morning. I’m so full of happiness I might just burst open.

Seahawk and Bumblebee took off at first light. They are meeting a friend of Bee’s on the other side of the border, and want to get to the monument by early tomorrow. I hope we see them there, but I doubt it. For ourselves, we pack up leisurely, Dirtnap, Biscuit, and me. This is the last whole day on the PCT.
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Day 156: the right choices

Day 156
Miles: 16
From Glacier Pass to below Tamarack Peak

I peak outside the tarp – nothing but gray fog. Any excuse to turn over and go back to sleep… but J is soon shaking me awake. The fog is just a tease, burning off quickly, and behind it there is blue sky. Blue skies! Here it is, October in the North Cascades, and we have blue skies. We eat our candy bars and instant coffee and follow it up with a side of switchbacks. Mountains for breakfast today!
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Day 155: lost and found

Day 155
Miles: 21
From Highway 20 to Glacier Peak

I don’t know what it was about our funny, little, tucked-away campsite, but something was magical. Here, in earshot of the highway, I slept like an angel. I’m ready to do this hiking business today.

J cuts the sticky bun in half and we share it – the last of our baked goods from the Stehekin Bakery. When we’re ready to go I call out, “Switch?”
“Yeah?” answers Switch from her nylon cocoon.
“How are you feeling this morning?”
“Uh, not good…”
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Day 154: the grumps

Day 154
Miles: 19
From Stehekin to Highway 20

Well, I’m still tired, but I guess I may as well see this thing through to the end. Partly cloudy today, cool, with an iffy weather forecast. Could go either way.

Switch and Biscuit stayed in Stehekin yesterday as well, and we all take the shuttle back to the trailhead together. We load up on pastries at the quick bakery stop. Yeah, I know they cost an arm and a leg. Don’t care. Money was invented for the buying of blueberry scones.
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Day 153: pause before the push

Day 153
Miles: 0

I am unbelievably exhausted.

The majority of the other hikers here are heading out today, last push to the border. The weather report for the next week could go either way, but it is absolutely perfect today. I watch the perfect blue sky wheel across the mountains and the lake from inside the little hotel. J goes out to explore or do whatever, I do the laundry and call my mother from the payphone. (A payphone! When was the last time I used one of these??) Then I sit on a couch and read a book from the shelf in the lounge – some YA novel about kids with cancer – from start to finish. I don’t love it that much but I cry anyway.
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Day 152: Downhill to Stehekin

Day 152
Miles: 12
From Hemlock Camp to Stehekin

I wake up not to sun, but to the possibility of it. I was hoping to wake up feeling magically cured, not like a wrung out dish-rag, but dish-rag is still better than yesterday. J once again lures me out of my sleeping bag with steaming hot tea, and I take my titanium mug over to where Switch and Biscuit are camping, and we discuss our various (ineffective) strategies for keeping mice out of our tents and sleeping bags. “I put out wrappers with just a few crumbs on them,” Biscuit explains. “As a decoy.”
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