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Begins: May 1, 2022
Date: Wed, Aug 3rd, 2022
Start: Crater lake
Daily Distance: 0
Trip Distance: 1,799.4
Entry Visits: 85
Journal Visits: 9,347
Guestbook Views: 213
Guestbook Entrys: 22
I slept ok last night, kind of anxious about the trip back. I packed up this morning, and we got on the road before 9. We first drove to the actual Crater Lake, and took pictures. The air was filled with smoke. I’m so happy I’m getting off trail- from the very beginning, I told myself and Allie that I refused to hike through smoke, or put myself in danger of hiking through smoke. My friend Zach was evacuated from trail near Etna by the Etna mayor, and my friends Spicy and Miso had to get off trail and go to Ashland due to the smoke. Completing the trail (whatever that will mean with all the closures now) will be a logistical nightmare. Who knows when you would have to all the sudden get off trail again, and have to try to frantically arrange a trip to another location. No thank you. The next few days, they forecast dry lighting, which are predicted to cause hundreds of new fires to put out.
The day before last, a fire had started just a mile away from trail- I learned this from a guy who had turned around to hitch out from Fish Lake Resort, as he just didn’t want to risk it. I had just gone ahead, since I wanted to keep my plan of meeting my friends at Mazama. I was fine, but it made me nervous.
Anyhow, today I initially tried to get a last minute flight out from Eugene airport. But it turns out you can’t order a ticket in person at the airport anymore (puts the lie to all those movie scenes where they do that. I thought it would be totally possible, and kind of cool frankly). Sketch’s mom was kind enough to drive me to the Portland airport, as it was on the way to her home in Seattle. I also learned today that you must order the ticket online, and that you must do it at least 60 minutes before departure, so I made sure to do that in the car on the way to Portland. Unfortunately, my flight was delayed by over two hours. Fortunately for me, I got a 12 dollar meal voucher due to the delay, and bought a second meal with it - a delicious tofu bahn mi sandwich. It was so nice having so many meal options, but the airport was totally overwhelming. It was so overstimulating. Most of the stops in NorCal were really small outposts. Ashland was the first actual city I’d been to in a long time. The experience of being in the airport around so many people was really weird, I’ll definitely need a period of adjustment to all the options in civilization, and the busy-ness.
Sadly, I lost my hat last night when I left it at the faucet after doing laundry. I was so distraught because on trail, you can’t lose anything- everything in your pack is invaluable, and you may not have the chance to replace it for a long time. So even though I knew it was fine that I lost my hat since I was getting off trail, emotionally I was really shocked by it. Then, today at Shelter Cove I bought a really cool PCT ceramic mug at the gift shop, and then I chipped it when I dropped it at the Eugene airport in the bathroom. Again, I was really upset. I have a scarcity mindset that I’m going to have to shift away from. For example, in the airport I found myself furtively stuffing my excess napkins into my Fanny pack, like a weirdo…I don’t need to do that anymore! I was so excited while doing it too, like I couldn’t believe all the excess napkins at my disposal. Not normal anymore Katy!
It will also be so weird having running water at my fingertips, and eating whatever I want, and having more options about what to wear. I have dressed in my hiker uniform the last 3 months- literally the same shirt and shorts each day (the shirt changed several times, but I always only ever had one shirt). I’ll now wear different clothes every day, which will be really nice but such a change.
At the airport, a guy recognized I was a hiker, and told me he had just gotten off the Continental Divide Trail, the CDT. He had broken a bone in his knee from trail, a fracture from a fall. So he had gotten off, rehabilitated it slowly over several months, gotten back on trail, and then refractured it after a short time this second time on trail. He was on crutches. He said he had done over 800 miles, and that the trail was so hard and becomes a grind over time- I told him I totally related. Long distance hiking is really hard. And I can’t imagine how frustrating he must have felt to have gotten such a bad injury on trail, and then to re-injure it. But it really is a very fun and special experience at the same time. Already, I know I will really miss the people and the extreme beauty of the trail. And I’ll miss the quiet, and the peace. Also, it feels like you are really living. You get such high highs on trail, and at the same time such lows. One can’t come without the other.
It is Monday, and I arranged to start work again next Monday, so a week from now. My body is stiff and sore- I need to rest, and do lots of physical therapy. Stretching and massage, and light walks for active recovery. And I need to mentally get my mind in the right place, before I start work again. I have a union board meeting in a few weeks as well, so I need to jump back into that. And I’m really excited to do so, but right now things do seem a bit overwhelming.
In terms of immediate plans, I can’t wait to see Allie, three months apart is too long. She told me I could finish the remaining section of the trail next year, but I told her that’s not fair to her- we should use my vacation time next year to do what she wants to do, together. I’m not going to leave her for over a month again so soon, if anything I would want to wait a few years. She was left all alone while I had a fun adventure without her, and I feel guilty about that. I don’t regret it, but it’s not balanced to turn around and do it again as soon as I can.
My flight lands in SFO soon. In the near future, I’ll write more about my gear take aways, what I learned, and so forth. Tonight, I get to see my apartment and Allie again, it feels so surreal!! I still can’t believe it, just yesterday I was hiking the trail!
Katy's PCT Adventure
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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