My last morning in the tent, I felt a tinge of sadness. It had been such an incredible journey through so many beautiful places, I was a little sorry to see it end. But I also looked forward reconnecting with family, friends and food again.
I slept okay the night before, not bad for being on the ground. Laying on my side, I noticed that the last two fingers of my left hand wouldn’t bend gently. They would snap into position, from straight to curled, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not make them do it slowly.
Had I pinched a nerve, sleeping on the ground for the last month?
Getting old is weird. Little things that always worked start to break down. Sometimes you can work it out, but sometimes the oddities persist, and you wonder if that’s just what happens in time.
Now I understand why old people talk about their pains, because it’s all so strange, you’re just trying to figure out what’s normal. You know that book on what to expect when you’re pregnant? They should have one on what to expect as you age.
Fish Nugget and Squarepants were up and out ahead of me, as usual. Civilization is a powerful motivator. I got going a little after 7:00 am.
We started out with lovely ridge views, then down into forest. We hiked past Mt Judah, where I’d gone on a Donner Party hike with my friend Irene, right after moving to Truckee so many years ago. We kept going down, past Sugar Bowl, to Highway 40, where I found the girls waiting for me.
We had arrived so early!
The next section to I-80 was very pretty, with granite boulders and forest oases. I had never hiked this half of it before.
The girls met several nice people on the trail, stopping to chat. One was a cute, older lady in purple who had been a campground host in Alaska and a bunch of other places. She and her husband were full-time RVers.
Fascinated, I asked her all about the lifestyle and how she dealt with weirdos at the campsites. She laughed and said the bears were easier to deal with than the drunks. Sometimes, the sheriff had to be called.
When I asked what she was doing here, she said her husband had one minor character flaw, gambling. He was in Reno for the day, scratching that itch.
We chatted for a while. She had traveled and hiked in a bunch of cool places and totally loved her life. I loved her life too, what a great way to live.
Even though we were only going seven miles today, I felt tired toward the end, stopping often to rest. Leaning on a rock, I finished off the last of my food, texted The Hubby and our friend G-Man, who would be picking us up at the trailhead. I savored my last scenic moments on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Nearing the trailhead, we passed a lot of day hikers and a big group of cute little kids on a summer camp outing. One of them even asked us why we were so stinky. I said you would be, too, if you had hiked 250 miles in the wilderness.
Then I told them that the girls had walked over 1100 miles, from the border of Mexico all the way here. The kids were like, whoa. One girl even said, I’m gonna do that.
We made it to the trailhead, hoots and hollers all around!
Of course, we took a selfie to commemorate the end of our journey together. Then we plunked ourselves down in the dirt, waiting for pickup. It was hard to believe that it was over, for me at least.
The girls were planning to take a few days off, then hop onto to the Lost Coast Trail, then come back to the PCT in Oregon. They had decided to skip the upper section of California due to extreme heat.
When G-Man arrived, I said we didn’t have to hug due to my extreme grossness. I’m sure he was relieved. He cheerfully helped us load up our packs, and off we went.
It felt weird being in a car going so fast down the freeway.
G-Man took us home to Belle and her amazing orange brownies. OMG, they were so delicious, and best of all, I found a Great Basin Milk Stout in the bar fridge—dark beer, my dream come true!
The Hubby soon arrived and didn’t want to hug, again, because I looked and smelled like a hobo. I thought about making him it do it anyway, but decided to let it go. Beer and brownies were too important to interrupt with marital niggling.
I half-expected our friends to, you know, strongly suggest a shower before lunch. But they didn’t seem to mind our sorry state. Welcoming us with open hearts (if not arms), they set up lunch out on the back deck, sausages and beer, yum.
We sat in chairs, ate a table and told stories of the trail.
Moving into our guest rooms, I finally took a hot shower, and it felt fantastic. The Hubby brought my carry-on suitcase, so I gave the girls some street clothes to wear, while I did all the laundry. I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to be clean again.
Though I thanked them profusely, I don’t think Belle and G-Man can really know how deep my gratitude ran for their generous hospitality. Trail angels extraordinaire, it was great to catch up with them at their lovely home, the perfect end to a perfect trip.
Hooray for water out of a tap, food from a fridge and toilets that flush.
Cleaning up and unpacking, we eased back into normal life. That night we all had dinner at the 50/50 Brewery, and it turned out Fish Nugget knew our waitress, who was the roommate of a friend of hers from when she worked at New Moon. Small world.
That night, The Hubby and I watched a movie in bed like always, James Bond in Skyfall. Though it’d been a long day, it took me a while to fall asleep. The bed was comfy, but it felt strange sharing space.
I woke up in the middle of night and sat up for water, momentarily confused.
It was strange not seeing my tent overhead.