Camping: PCT mile 2588.9
Miles to go: 80.99
After waking up and having a quality breakfast at the ranch, we sat in our cabin watching the rain come pouring down outside. We were more motivated after our break and knew we’d hit the trail today, though we kept putting it off. Blisster, ever the most motivated in the morning, caught the first bus back to the trail. Hugs was planning to stay in Stehekin to wait for Pockets, and the guys and I were going to take the afternoon bus back to the trail when the rain had settled more. We got in one last trip to the bakery, played cards by the store and then hopped on the bus to the trailhead. On our way there the bus slowed to a stop and pointed out a mama bear with 2 cubs foraging near the road! That makes my bear count a total of 7 this summer, and they barely acknowledged the big idling bus full of gawking tourists saying, “oooh!” and “aaah!”
The day was grey and bleak making me feel solemn that it was our last section of trail before Canada. Even if I had hiked the last section, this one would still feel like I was hiking on to a big loss. I don’t think I’ll ever want to leave the trail life, but it is inevitable at some point. I hiked slowly, getting back my trail legs and the guys were off ahead of me in no time. We were only planning on 8 miles as we had to obtain a camping permit for this section. This made us have to choose our camping spot before hiking, and the next one had already exceeded permits, so we didn’t actually have much choice. Alternatively we could have tried to go 15 miles that first day but none of us were quite fast enough to do that by the time we had hit the trail, and it’s getting dark so early these days!
It took a little extra effort to get back into the flow of hiking but it felt good all the same. The sky was full of low hanging clouds, but they didn’t release any rain on us and we walked through the moist dense forest to our camp. We ran across Birdbath, Gil and Waffles who decided to join us for the night; and after a pretty uneventful 8 mile hike we all pitched our tents next to a rushing river. We made dinner and then the rain began to fall again. Camping in the rain makes me feel lazy, but I love laying in the tent listening to the rain hit the roof. It gives me a little bit of anxiety, because then I have to pack up wet gear and there isn’t much hope for drying anything out in this last stretch. I guess I better get used to it if I want to do the AT next year. Both Steeltoe and Dayglo hiked the AT in the past and have been making me want to do it more and more as the PCT comes to an end. I lay in my tent thinking about this new adventure on the horizon – and reminiscing on the one that was wrapping up currently. I love this life, and I’m definitely not ready to let it, or the people, go.