Miles: 0
Camping: The Hiker Hut in Etna

Day 100…hard to believe, yet it seems like a lifetime has passed in that time. I’ve been through a few struggles, but mostly it has been the most fulfilling experience of my life. I wouldn’t trade a single one of these 100 days for anything in the world. Not a thing!

I decided upon waking up that a zero was needed. My feet were still hurting, so I think it wise to rest them while I can. The Hiker Hut here is a super relaxing place, and I’d lined up a massage for the afternoon (courtesy of a kind donation from a friend. Thanks Elaine!) In the meantime, I made a point to rest my feet. I watched the first X-Men movie, caught up on some reading, and went to lunch with my new friend Switch. It was a most relaxing day.

My massage was out of this world! The woman utilizes hot bamboo in her body work, along with a vast array of essential oils that all smelled like heaven to me. She kneaded and rolled me out like a piece of dough, taking knots and aches out of my muscles from head to toe. She even massaged my jaw! It was the most thorough massage I’ve ever had though I had her concentrate on my feet. Hot bamboo being rolled deep into my aching feet was the most divine of intervention. I caught myself almost laughing from smiling so hard…it was the best thing I could have done for myself today!

When she was done I chatted with the masseuse for a while before heading to the grocery store. My plan was to buy salad greens, an avocado and an entire quart of Greek yogurt, which I did. I figured I’d curl up with a book at the hostel and enjoy feeling like a well worked piece of dough. Much to my surprise though, I came out of the grocery store to find Ninja and Blisster! They had just hiked into town after spending the previous night in a lightning storm. I was so happy to have them here, though I knew my evening plans would now involve my good friends.

We ended up heading to the Etna brew pub on bikes where we joined Dave, Brittany, Switch and String Cheese for a pint. A trail crew happened to notice we were PCT hikers and bought us a round of beer as well. I’m pretty sure it was us who should have bought the beer for them! I personally only had half a pint, concerned about over indulging after a massage. I felt like I was adequately indulged just being with these people, and in an especially relaxed state of mind.

While at the brew pub, we got to talking with some locals. A woman who works for the forest service gave us the inside scoop on the smoke and fires, making me second guess hiking from here. She said the smoke is thick, and she didn’t recommend it if the smoke bothers me. I casually mentioned that if I had a ride to the next town I’d happily skip this most smoky stretch (another 55 miles). I absolutely insist on walking into Oregon though, where I will be in a big town for the first time in a while, and I can go over more foot care options. Perhaps some good insoles? Chacos? Another massage? Choices, if nothing else. Though most people have hitched through this section, there is a select few of us persistent enough to walk. That said, per my casual remark, the woman offered me the ride I was looking for! More serendipity! I will sleep in a teepee in her yard tomorrow night, then she will take me to the trail the next day. I no longer feel remorse about skipping, as I am doing my best in my current situation. I will be among friends, and I will hike on for now. She referred to it as’ “cosmic travel,” and I fully embrace that at this point in the game.

For tonight, I am curled up in a bunkhouse with people I love, ready to continue my journey. That’s just it, it’s my journey. I will get from Mexico to Canada mostly by foot, partly by serendipitous rides, and completely by a strong will and determination. This is my trip, and no one can take that away from me.

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