September 28, 2017

Miles 6 (+3.5 to Ozette)

PNT mile 1217

Camp: No more

Waking up to another picture perfect morning on the coast was bittersweet. Everything we would do today would be the last time. With the recent drama of Pink’s injury, we were all so focused on that, we barely realized the end was near. I laid in my tent staring at the ocean, smelling the salty air, breathing deeply the moment that would soon be over. The end of another trail. It never gets easy.

We all hiked on together, the morning about as ideal as one could ever imagine. Great weather, no clouds, a perfectly low tide. Pink was still a bit slower today, but it didn’t matter, we were in no hurry. We walked and reflected, collected treasure and admired the views.

About a mile before the end of the day there was a spot called, “Wedding Rocks.” There are petroglyphs there from old native tribes that used to live and go whaling in this area. We spent a good amount of time hunting for them and found a few good ones. I accidentally stepped in a tide pool while looking at the rocks around me instead of my feet. I laughed about how my shoe would smell like the ocean forever now, a salty memory of another hike gone by.

All too soon, we approached Cape Alava, the western most point in the contiguous United States. My heart felt as heavy as ever, but this is the first time I crossed the finish line with other people. Thumbs was still a little ways back, but Gerry (now known as Dr. Hopscotch), Pink and I made those final steps together. We rejoiced in the moment and waited for our friend to catch up to the end.

After a round of photos and some drying out of our tents, we could only hike away from the coast now. It was 3.5 miles to the small resort of Ozette where we would be able to rent a cabin and take showers before finding our way back to civilization for our reintegration. It’s a glorious and melancholy feeling. So much ends with a hike, and yet, so much begins as well.

The path out from the ocean was mostly boardwalk through a coastal forest. It was mossy and misty and it smelled divine. We approached the small resort just as they were closing, but the owner was happy to rent another cabin for the night and sell us a celebratory 6 pack to go with it.

As we sat and reminisced on our summer I couldn’t help but wonder what my next adventure will be. What will it bring? There is no turning back from the addiction of thru hiking. There is no other way to live.

Until then, I’ll check in again soon. I have some reflections I’d like to make on this hike in particular. Stay tuned and thank you once again for reading.

There are of course, 1,000 people to thank for making this hike possible:

Elaine & Dan
Faith Sheridan
Jim and Mo Foster
Margaret Loubier
Kevin and Molly Kemp
Lori Kennedy and Ron Boe
Xana and Panorama
Pink’s St. Mary crew
Mary of Metaline Falls
The McRae Family
Last On The Bus
The Gillan Family
Diane Hennebert and Family
Rebecca and Jon at The Happy House
Lys of Port Townsend
Sheri in Forks
Thumbs’ family
Every person who gave us rides, beers, food, smiles and support along the way. So many beautiful people!