Pacific Northwest Trail; mile 464.1

Wenesday, August 28, 2019; day 39

I was drowsy in the morning. I had difficulty falling asleep the previous night, and had taken Benadryl very late. It had not yet worn off. After an hour more of shut-eye, I joined Carrie and Dave over a fresh cup of coffee…or three.

I hugged them both and we had our final goodbye. I was so thankful to have had this experience in Republic. To have met them. To have been taken under Carrie’s wing.

Before I left, I was presented with an amazing gift. Not only did Carrie hold a gold metal for having been the strongest woman in the world, she was a poet. She signed and handed me a copy of her book.

I thanked her once more, and headed out, pack on my back.

I spent time at the library, then the co-op. Oh, how I adore small town co-ops with fresh coffee and public seating.

I had a spunky, heated conversation with a man in his mid-70s.

He mentioned how people were not truly happy these days, even though they think they are. He said that people were not activating their bodies. I told him that I wished to inspire people to discover what makes them happy. To help people feel more comfortable being themselves. Even if they don’t really care about what I think, or how I write…they will see that I am vulnerable. In my life, meeting people who expressed themselves freely, unabashedly, without guilt or shame, has changed how I engage with the world.

He asked how I funded my journey. I mentioned my writing, and donations. He told me times were tough.

He got up to leave. We both expressed our appreciation for the chat. A moment later he walked back and handed me a $10 bill, with the words “for your journey”. Then, he was gone. He left me feeling like he believed in my spirit, and what I had to say.

Next, I was headed to the post-office to ship home Carrie’s book of poetry. There was no way I could manage the additional weight.

As I was leaving, I encountered Steve and Sarah. They were fans of the thru-hiking movement and had read many published books written by hikers. They were eager to help. They offered me a ride back to the trail later that day. I told them that I had some things to finish up at the library, and asked if 6 or 7 o’clock would be too late. They said that would be fine, and wrote down their number.

At 6:50, I called them up. Fifteen minutes later they were curbside.

I loaded my pack in to the trunk of their Tesla. I motioned to enter the backseat, when Steve said, “No, you get to sit in front.” Wow! I felt so special! …and I truly got to see what their vehicle could do. I had never found myself in a Tesla before. Sarah was in the driver’s seat. As I sat down beside her, she offered me a chocolate. I smiled, prepared to decline “Oh, thank you. But I’m vegan.”

“So are we.” She responded.

“Oh. Wow!” I enjoyed the cacao truffle. Then she presented me with a bag of dehydrated bananas to take on the trail! How deliciously kind!

By 0730, I was back on trail.

I continued hiking in to the darkness.

I smiled as the stars grew stronger in their brilliance. Then I spotted a bright light in the distance. It was too low to be as star. I covered my head lamp to see if it was reflective. No. I watch it. It moves. Like a human.

I realize that this is the first time I have been uneasy at the thought of encountering another human on trail at night. I am all but certain that there is not a PNT hiker within 100 miles of me. I stop and listen. I hear cars. I continue. I look for the light. I do not see it again.

I came to a spring. It was flowing, but only a tiny stream.

I continued toward Snow Peak Cabin. Steve and Sarah had mentioned that they had stayed in that cabin once before. They said it was nice, that it even had fire place, and a cooking stove.

The cabin was unlocked, and very spacious.

I made myself comfortable inside. I ate some delicious bananas. I fell fast asleep on the wooden floor.

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