October 19, 2017
Mount Laguna Campground – Lake Morena Campground
26 miles/8 hours
An early start. An easy walk. Holy crap I can walk long, fast and efficient, I realize as I hammer out the miles. Not trying to move fast just simply moving. Fast. How fun. Of course, this is the second to last day of this walk, and I am just getting into a good groove. Ha. As it should be.
I make it to Lake Morena in no time. After hanging out at the local store/deli eating my face off, drinking cold beer, eating a massive watermelon that makes me feel like my belly is going to explode, I make my way back to the campground to pay my $5 camping fee, pick a spot, text with Peter who is on his way to meet me tonight. Yes, it has been over two months, and somehow Peter has made it work to pick up the truck and vintage trailer from Bishop (parked at our dear friends the Nelson’s house) and come meet me for my last day on trail.
Two hikers make their way into the other side of the massive campground. One is very loud, and very stoked. I know who these guys are, it’s Badger and The Real Hiking Viking, or Jabba. These two have just gotten ahead of me the past few days. Because I skipped Julien and free pie, I retook the lead. As if there is such a thing. Actually, it’s no contest, these two have hiked all the way from the Northern Terminus, the entire 2660 mile trail taking them only 100 days. They are on day 99 and are beyond pumped.
I walk over and introduce myself, greeted with a hug and a welcome into the ‘trail magic’ party at their camp spot. A fellow thru-hiker and internet friend of Badger tracked them down miles into this day, intersected them on a road the trail crossed, fed them, watered them with some potent liquid, drone captured their hiking and sent them on their way, pack less, to slack the last few miles into Lake Morena. Which is where Jabba re-injured a foot issue and is in the current state of numbing with more of said potent liquid. These guys are awesome, make me so happy to be a part of the trail culture, they are not tired AT ALL and are super fun to be around. Especially after so many days alone. I just sit and listen to them all, as if I am privy to a campground-thru-hiker-trail-magic-themed reality TV show. Badger’s friends bring out speakers, lights, multi-media stuff I have never heard of and we become those annoying loud people in the campground. I am sorry/not sorry to admit I don’t care.
Then, Peter arrives. Joins us for beer. I am so happy to be beside my husband, having hiked the many hundreds of miles he’s done a few times in his life (he has completed the PCT twice already…), finally knowing what he shared in his stories of hiking the Mojave Desert in the fall… So happy to be together again. I almost commit to taking one last zero for no reason at all because what’s the rush. I am not on any kind of schedule having to go back to work or anything at all. I feel truly utterly free.
Goodnight for the last time from the Pacific Crest Trail (at least this year).
October 20, 2017
Lake Morena Campground – Campo/Southern Terminus of the PCT
20 miles/6hrs 30 mins
Best 3.7 miles of my half of the PCT hike are those from Lake Morena Campground. Why? Because I’m walking with Windwalker aka Peter aka my husband. It is windy and cool and raining and utterly perfect. I have only food, water, some gatorade and clothes. My pack feels like it’s not even on my back it’s so light. I feel like I can run but am more than happy to walk, with Peter, for those first few of the last miles. Soon he turns around to get the truck to come pick me up at the PCT monument marking the end of the road, or trail, shall I say.
Walking with Windwalker
Finally, in the distance, I see the wall. The wall that many people don’t know is already there. The wall that is the subject of such division and discussion. The wall that allows for human beings to be deemed ‘illegal’ on planet earth. Such a notion is impossible and utterly ridiculous when you look at the history of the lines we draw on maps dividing humans including some excluding others. The multi-layered and most complex effects of colonization that most refuse to acknowledge let alone understand. The wall, and here I am walking in a bright pink dress, florescent orange camo hunting cap, visible to all, walking freely protected in this corridor of trail because of my white skin and passport. I cry because I think of the lives lost , the toil, the struggle, the human cost of this wall and all it entails. I walk in awareness and feel embarrassed to walk with such privilege. Yet I am grateful and happy and really, really proud of this walk. It’s complicated, that’s all. I can’t walk and enjoy my situation without this awareness and ultimately empathy. How can I call myself human if I don’t. How.
Then I think of the late great mythological historian Joseph Campbell, and his quote ‘you cannot cure the world of sorrow, but you can choose to live with joy’. Which means to me you cannot fix or change everything around you, but with awareness and humanity you can share and encourage and at the very least walk with awareness of privilege, walk without judgement, walk with empathy.
And then, just like that, it’s done. Peter is waiting with a cold beer. The wind blows. We sit in the dirt, toasting my completion of half the trail, this little walk, and the walks Peter has begun and finished in this exact spot.
It’s done. 1330 miles or so. 58 days. Solo. SOBO.
I will be back.
Half trail completion salute
White sage in my pocket
This is how you celebrate a 100-day Thru hike. Badger and Jabba. Wildmen.