August 24, 2014
Start: Halfmile 2660.0
End: Halfmile 2669.0
Distance: 9.0 Mi
Cumulative: 2,700.5 Mi
Yes, I had one more night and nearly nine more miles to “town,” but they were bonus, a chance to ease out of the summer. The Monument was behind me, and with it the entire breadth of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Lying in my tent last night, after 128 days, I was done.
I slept until 9a this morning, finally allowing myself to experience the exhaustion I’ve no-doubt been repressing for a few thousand miles. I can’t remember the last time I slept continuously for 12 hours. Guess I needed the rest. Cassie arrived around noon, and we moseyed on up to the Monument. How cool to have the opportunity to share this place with her. How cool that she hoofed in a full, unopened bottle of bubbling champagne. How cool that I’m composing this post from the comfort of her apartment here in Portland. How cool is my girlfriend? So cool.
The last nine miles were the longest of the entire trail. I’m done; why am I still walking? I just kept thinking over and over for hours: Are we there yet? How are we not there yet? I’m done. D-O-N-E, done! I was being a serious baby. You’d never know I walked every inch from Mexico. What’s nine miles? Nothing, unless you’re already emotionally finished. And I was. Just keep walking; just keep walking. Until finally- a car, a road, a way home. Truly done.
It’s odd, this feeling that I don’t have anywhere to be. I’m about to crawl into a bed, and I don’t have to leave it until I’m good and ready. I’m not “taking a zero.” I’m done. Done. Done. Done. I can say it as many times as I like, but it doesn’t seem real. I’m finished; I’m a thru-hiker. I’m Sochi. And no matter what happens in my life, nothing will ever change that. Nothing can strip me of this accomplishment. Nothing. This one time, I walked from Mexico to Canada. How cool is that?
And even as I compose this, I recognize that my body feels strong, fresh. My body could yo-yo, and indeed wants to. In this same moment, my heart feels full, happy. My heart is ready to be done. And yet I want to note that should I ever again thru-hike this impressive trail, I'll yo-yo it. I can already feel the allure of that tempting end. Many adventures between now and then, however. More adventures than time, I fear.