We are back in Vermont! After 4 and a half months hiking the PCT, we made it to the Canadian border, we celebrated at the border monument, and then we got the heck out of there because it was cold and rainy for our last 4 days in Washington state! The end of our trip was somewhat circuitous because of the wildfires raging in northern Washington. We had to get off the trail at the Snoqualmie Pass ski area, hitch down the mountain to Leavenworth. Nobody was interested in picking us up from there, so we instead took two buses to get to Chelan. From Chelan, we took a ferry to Stehekin, walked a couple of miles to the amazing Stehekin bakery, and then took one more bus, to make it back to the trail. Whew. It was a lot of transportation. But it was worth it. There was an amazing satisfaction in reaching the Canadian border. It felt like a truly epic journey. And our last few days were a climax. The rain and cold temperatures inspired us to hike the longest miles we had hiked without break, culminating in our final day of hiking, during which we covered 34 miles and took only one 10-15 minute break at the border to celebrate with a tiny bottle of prosecco, brie, crackers, and chocolate chunk cookies, yum. Amazingly, we were able to coordinate with our dear trail friends, Stomper and Bushdog, to cross the border at the same time, which made the celebration that much sweeter!
Coming home is wonderful and overwhelming. I love being back in Vermont, back in our house, and back in our community. But there are so many things to do again-- and its hard to remember that I can only ever do one thing at a time. It has been almost a week now, and I'm starting to relax back into just being here, instead of feeling overwhelmed by all the things I want to do here. Hiking the PCT is hard work, but its so singular in purpose and life gets pared down to just a few essentials-- one pair of clothes, one pair of shoes-- walk, eat, sleep, walk eat sleep, walkeatsleep. It sounds simple, and it is simple. And while I was in it, there were about a million times that I missed the complexity of my "normal" life. I missed the choices that we all face daily-- what to eat? what to do? what to do for fun? for work? for relaxing? for exercise? So many choices that are truly not part of life on the trail. But there is a certain freedom in the simplicity of hiking a long trail like the PCT. Your purpose becomes walking. How much simpler can it get? And yet, our minds don't just take a vacation, (oh, you're all set for now, I'll just meet you back in VT), nope. My mind and my thought stream kept up like its life depended on it. Its a good reminder for me of how truly all the busy, rushing around that can become so normal, is mostly in my mind. That even in the simplest task of walking-- all day, everyday-- my mind kept its busy pace. The main difference being that I didn't have the usual distractions at hand-- so I could watch it-- my mind, that is. And I couldn't blame the busy-ness on my busy life. There were no crazy external events that were keeping me from being completely peaceful. For the most part, it was just me and the trees and the mountains (and Patrick, of course). So, here I am reentering a "normal" "busy" life. I'm excited to jump back into everything. And maybe, maybe, I have a little more sense of the relative importance of the external business as it relates to my internal business. If I am ever to find more moments of peace, those will come from an internal peace, rather than some manipulation of my external circumstance.
And with that, I am signing off from this blog. More to come next summer 2016! Thanks for reading!
Recording moments from our journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. (All pre-2015 entries are Patrick's words on work and life at the homestead).