I think it would be an interesting collection of information to find out what people are thinking about/talking about as they walk the very last mile to the northern terminus of the PCT. Do you think they are considering getting a new puppy? Do you think they are wondering about what to do with their lives now? Do you think maybe their feet just effing hurt? Or maybe they’re considering proposing marriage to the person they’ve been walking with for the last 2600 miles who has seen them at they’re ugliest and craziest and still finds them a fascinating and attractive companion. I’ll tell you what I was thinking/talking about. I may have mentioned that when I was having a hemorrhage stroke last year I was having all kinds of delusions, the most prominent one being that I was still walking the PCT. It was very vivid and included visits to small town laundromats, purifying nasty water, difficult miles, and encounters with interesting hikers. My last mile thoughts were that I was possibly still in that bed, still having that same delusion, and that this wasn’t really happening. I voiced this possibility to my friend I was walking with and his response was,
“What if I am also in a delusional coma? We were in a car accident together and are currently sharing a bunk in ICU somewhere and decided to jointly pretend we are on this fabulous adventure while our families try to figure out what to do about us.”
Me: “So what do you think happens now then that the trail is almost over? Do we come out of the comas? Die?”
Him: “It will never be over. We’ll keep descending down these switchbacks towards the terminus for all of eternity in some kind of PCT purgatory.”
PCT purgatory, HAHAHAHA! In a way, this journey has been like that. It’s not here nor there. It’s a reprieve, a time-out, a reset button. It felt like a shamanic reorganization of what is essential in life, a going behind the curtains to meet the “behind the scenes” staff members who are putting this whole damn show on for us and shaking their hands, seeing the costumes out of context, watching the stage lights steer the focus on different points of action. There was a distinct buzz back there, a musical tone, which I’m damn near convinced is the electrical energy powering the whole thing. Or maybe I’ve gone/ have always been crazy and I just got a good healthy look at it. Maybe I’m still in that bed. It’s going to take a LONG time to process what happened out there for me and it has the freedom to begin now that I don’t have to wake up every morning with some immediate challenges facing me. Meanwhile, there will be a gear post, and a cast of characters post, and I might even say a few things about the actual trail.
Thank you for following and encouraging me! The walking is now done, but I am only at the beginning if figuring out what the hell just happened.