Pacific Northwest Trail; mile 700.3

Thursday, September 12, 2019; day 53

I opened my eyes at 0830 to realize that my headlamp was still strapped to my head, the light still on. In my exhaustion–once inside my tent–I had disregarding all but sleep.

I was still tired.

I considered sleeping, just a tiny bit more. Maybe a coffee nap. Drink some caffeine, take a 20 minute nap, and that’s it. I had not set up camp until around 0230, after all.

No. No time for napping. I ration my food, instead. Just under 50 miles until a road crossing. I am getting there. I am doing it.

In less than 5 miles I will connect with the PCT. I will have the joy of travelling along the beloved trail southbound, for 13 miles. This is a portion of trail I missed when I hiked the PCT in 2016. Due to dangerous snow conditions, I opted for a roadwalk along Route 20 from Rainy Pass, connecting lower elevation trails in to Canada. Needless to say, I was ecstatic!

I felt a bit giddy. As if I were heading out for a night on the town. I will certainly see other people, other hikers.

…Not just hikers, but hikers only 3.5 miles south of the northern terminus, and the completion of their epic journeys. Part of me was tempted to go touch it. But not yet. That time will come.

I consider the intersection of journeys in life, how the old mission was calling me back. I consider how symbolic, how strong in archetypal energy, a terminus of a long-distance trail is.

Soon my giddiness turned to nerves. I was not sure if I was ready to see all of those people, all of those reflections of what they saw in me. The anticipation of other people already had me engaging in the hike differently. The PNT is truly a gem of solitude.

As I crossed paths with each hiker. They congratulated me. At first I corrected them, explaining that I was on another trail entirely. When that became too much, I just smiled and congratulated them in return. I laughed, realizing just how out of sync I was with the hiker fist-bump.

Stepping over a mountain pass is like hopping in to a new dimension. It is nothing short of magic.

What an expense of trail! So amazing to see the route zigzagging ahead!

I continue in to the night. It only rains in gentle spurts, then clears. I keep gazing upward in hopes of glimpsing a burning star. No. Just beautiful wisps of dark cloud, and the silhouette of proud pines.

I continue. Just before I reach Holman Pass, and the junction that leaves the PCT, the rain turns fierce.

The PNT descends towards Canyon Creek. There should be a tent site in just under a mile.

I reach the site and quickly erect my tent in the rain. I throw myself and my gear inside.

There are still 29.8 miles until I hit Ruby Creek, and access to Route 20.

I feel very happy to be back on the PNT. I feel very happy to be alone, once more.

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