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Well its hard to believe that less than a week ago I was still on the trail and shivering in my sleeping bag. After a few nights at home and in a warm bed the trail already feels like a lifetime ago. But the memories are still crisp and I will enjoy even this time when I can remember every detail. We took the bus to Vancouver where we stayed for the night and then took the train to our home in Portland the next day. Since then Ive just been relaxing and trying to reintegrate into the real world before heading back to work next week.
What an amazing experience the trail was. I met so many incredible people and colorful characters that I cant even begin to list them all. People who were interesting, kind and make the world a fun place to live. I hope that I see some of them again in my travels. Most of all, though, I am thankful for being lucky enough to complete the trail. There were many people who were more prepared than me who werent so fortunate for one reason or another. Im thankful for my family and friends for supporting me, the random people who helped along the way, my health for holding out and my job for giving me the time off. Overall I hiked about 1000 miles with Kevin, 1000 miles alone and 600 with Amanda. It was fantastic getting to hike with them. Kevins ridiculous resilience was such an inspiration to everyone and the fact that Amanda was able to start cold and come up to speed so quickly was impressive. It was also nice to hike some of the trail alone. Ive almost never camped by myself so it was a new and fun experience getting comfortable with that. Its good to be a little uncomfortable sometimes and camping alone in bear country in the Sierras definitely accomplished that.
Through hikers are such an interesting and quirky bunch that it was almost worth the trip just to get visibility into this odd little community. A group of people all of whom are looking for something different on the trail and have the means to look for it. I can see why people continue with it, since once you leave the trail it dissolves. I certainly wont try another one anytime soon, but maybe someday.
Im not exactly sure everything I learned from the trail, but I certainly have a better understanding of myself and what I want out of life. I also learned just how much amazing wilderness there is on the west coast alone. There are at least a dozen places Id like to get back to. I learned that people in general want to help others as long as they feel safe doing it. And I learned that no matter how insurmountable the task in front of you seems, if you just keep at it then you can make progress.
Thanks again for following along with my journey and for the nice comments in my guestbook. I said in one of my first entries, that I was looking for an adventure and that is certainly what it was. I hope you enjoyed reading along a tiny fraction as much as I enjoyed hiking.
Blues signing off.
A few trail notes and observations.
Notable animals I saw. Pheasant, bear, bobcat, badger, grouse, elk, marmot, mountain goat, pika, rattlesnake, horny toad, fox, coyote,
Not-notable animals I saw. Mouse, squirrel, bluejay, lizard, cat
Favorite State: Im probably biased, but I liked Oregon the most. There was just so much cool stuff over only 450 miles, Mt Thielsen, Crater Lake, Mt Jefferson, three sisters, Mt Hood and Eagle creek to name a few. Plus the trail was in such great shape, that the hiking was really enjoyable. California was fantastic too, but the highlights were spread out over such a longer distance and the trail was often really rough. Washington just never quite got its act together. Between the rain, snow, fires, smoke and facial hornet stings Washington kind of struggled. The first half with goat rocks and Mt Adams was amazing though and im sure the north cascades are too, but it was so cloudy we never really could see the views.
I discovered podcasts. Ive never really listened to them before but it was a good way to pass time on the trail. Some of my favorites were: Serial, Planet Money, Blazers Edge, Quirks and Quarks, Startalk Radio and This American Life.
Outside of the shoes that I got rid of because they didnt fit right, I wore out 4 pairs of shoes.
I wore my Columbia pants for almost 130 days without issue until they ripped at manning park.
I found out that I can get tired of Snickers and Hamburgers but not Raman.