In the last few days, other hikers we’ve met on the trail — not through-hikers, but folks out for the weekend or a shorter trip — have started greeting us by saying “Congratulations!”. Only on a trip as long as the PCT could five days and roughly a hundred miles count as “almost there”, but it is almost there. As of tomorrow, we only have four more days of hiking. That’s crazy!
Genuinely and truly, it’s hard to know what to make of it. We’ve been doing this for so long that it has simply become our lives. I know what it’s like to go back to a place where we can have anything we want to eat, sleep in a real bed, and relax — after all, we’ve had plenty of zeroes along the trail — but what I have a much harder time wrapping my head around is that we get to do that on and on and on, starting in just a few days. It seems like we should get to Canada, stop for a few days, and then just go back to hiking again…because this is just what we do now. The idea that we’ll be all done, with no more hiking to do at all, seems impossible. I mean, I know I’ll adjust, and probably much more quickly than I’d imagine, but it still seems incredible.
I’m not sure what to make of it, except that I am really excited. Believe me, I’ve been fantasizing about all the things I want to do for at least a month — all of the amazing food I want to eat (hello, pizza from The Star! hello, real Bay Area burritos!), the places I want to drive (driving! in a car! with heat! and cold drinks!), the great coffee I want to have again, even just all of the relaxing I want to do (like, weeks and weeks and weeks of it). It’s just such a big transition that I still can’t wrap my head around it. Just four more days! Really?!?
We left Stehekin in high spirits this morning for that very reason, and all the more so after stopping once more at the bakery and getting more delicious, amazing things to eat. It also helps that the trail on the way out is nowhere near as hard as the trail we’d been experiencing for a couple of days on the last segment. We’re climbing uphill, but it’s not steeply, and the trail is well-maintained and pretty easy going. Everyone’s in good spirits; the weather shows maybe one day of rain, but no snow or serious temperature drops to worry about. Just the conversations we have on the trail with other through-hikers have this same upbeat, happy tone. We’re almost there!
Tonight, we’re less than seventy miles from Canada. Four more days!