September 27, 2017

Miles: 6

PNT mile 1211

Camp: Yellow Banks – Olympic National Park Wilderness Coast 

We all awoke this morning, nervous for the outcome of a night off of Pink’s ankle. He was not immediately optimistic and even alluded to not hiking at all today. My heart sank in sadness that he was that hurt; hurt so close to the end of our hike, and I didn’t want to lose the support of our friends. Yesterday turned us into a cohesive team, getting things done, getting everyone safely to the next mile. Everyone helped. Without our friends it would be a lot harder and a lot less safe.

Fortunately, after doing a few morning chores, Pink changed his tune. He felt able to walk at least to the next camp along the coast and reevaluate, while Gerry was volunteering to hopscotch backpacks again. It became attainable to move forward and that is all any of us could have hoped for. We are in an isolated wilderness and we have to get out on our own and safely. Any forward progress was the best case scenario.

Though we faced rocky shores all day, we managed to move through smoothly and efficiently. Pink’s ankle improved, a miracle at best considering the demands of walking miles of rocky coast. None of us could really believe our eyes as his stride returned to a more normal gait and he was able to keep up and carry his own pack. We are all grateful. 

It turned out to be a superior day. The weather was top notch, the hiking short, challenging and scenic, the company extraordinary…and we got to camp nice and early. We arrived at 1pm and though we could have moved on, opted to rest for tomorrow. One more day sees us  finished with the trail and out of the wilderness. How did we get here already? I feel as if it crept up on me, like I didn’t really see it coming. I didn’t realize it was our last full day on trail until we got to camp. There are only 6 miles left to the end. Six. 

I am so relieved to have had such a wonderful day. The worry and stress over Pink’s injury really changed the mood, but today brought a lot of positivity.

The afternoon was spent playing in the waves, building sand castles, creating shade, collecting sea glass and buoys, relaxing in the sun…all on a perfect beach on a perfect fall day.

I can’t believe I’m going to finish a trail again tomorrow. It’s so different this time.

I could stay on this beach forever.