September 22, 2015
Tentsite and spring after Glacier Pass (2624.2) to Tentsite at Woody Pass (2649.2)
25.0 PCT miles today
2685.8 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 5,400 ft, – 5,426 ft
It is absolutely crazy that tomorrow is our last day on the PCT, and tonight is our last night. All of today was spent trying to process this fact, with varying emotions and thoughts as the result. I thought it was a somewhat more challenging day, with the miles dragging more than usual and my foot pain screaming at me to stop, but Pickles loved every minute of today, and used his positivity to keep me going and get us in our miles.
Throughout the day, as Pickles picked up my slack and said just what I needed to hear to keep moving, I reflected on what it has meant to hike the PCT with my fiancé. The truth of the matter is that I honestly don’t think I would have completed the PCT if I had hiked it solo, as was the original plan. For years I had talked about hiking this trail and for as long as we were together, Pickles never showed any interest. It was considered my dream and we both assumed that I would do it alone and he would act as my support person, perhaps hiking a section or two with me. But then one day, he changed his mind. He began to refer to the trail that “we’d” hike and from that moment on, it became an adventure that we’d do together. Looking back, we cannot imagine having been separated all summer long, or having me go through such a drastic and life-altering experience without the love of my life by my side.
Some people hike the PCT without their significant others and they make it work, but that’s not us. Since day one, Pickles and I have shared all of our experiences and have found our shared interests to be at the core of our relationship. We share a love for the same hobbies, interests, and lifestyle, and that has been made clearer on this hike than ever before. We both have a deep love for above treeline mountain views, wildlife, and physical well-being. We both hate the rain and are not fans of the desert. These similarities certainly aren’t requirements, but we felt that they made our hike, and make our relationship, that much stronger.
Hiking the PCT with another person involves an incredible amount of teamwork, and Pickles and I have loved being one another’s teammate in everything from putting up the tent to staying dry in a rain storm to making decisions about when and where to stop each day. We balance each other out nicely and help fill in for one another’s deficiencies. Out here, we found that when one of us was frustrated or tired or angry, the other would step up to the plate and stay extra positive in order to keep us going. We took turns complaining or being moody, and learned the best ways to bring a smile back to the other person’s face.
It goes without saying that any two people who spend this much time together are going to have their disagreements. As a couple, we found the trail to be a great training ground for “real life”. We practiced different methods of reconciliation, and as the months went by, learned quicker and healthier ways to resolve our disagreements. In the last month, a fight or argument rarely lasted longer than a couple minutes. On the trail we are dependent on one another, so we really can’t stay mad for long.
We have joked with people that we are still in fact getting married next month, even after hiking this trail together, but there is an important truth behind this remark. I didn’t think it was possible to love Pickles any more than the day he proposed to me, but somehow my love has continued to grow for this incredible man who makes me laugh, shares my passions, and supports me constantly. I have loved seeing him thrive out here on the trail and remain so incredibly patient with me, even though he probably could have gotten to Canada a month ago if he wasn’t hiking right behind me and my gimpy foot.
This morning, within a couple hours of our hike, we came across our final trail magic at Hart’s Pass. Meander, from Bellingham, was serving up some delicious hot food and good conversation, and Pickles was in heaven. I felt a little antsy to get back on trail since I knew we had a lot of miles to get in, but I didn’t want to interrupt Pickles, who was deep in conversation with the trail angel and pigging out on tons of great food. He was happy, and it made me happy. We eventually got going again and put in all our miles under a clear blue sky. We couldn’t have found a more scenic and fitting tentsite for our last night, and we held each close as we watched the sun set over one range of mountains, and the moon rise over another. With everything about to change, and the PCT soon becoming a thing of the past, it is nice to know that Pickles is mine forever and together we’ll relive this hike for many years to come.
The completion of our 2015 thru-hike of the PCT is dedicated to our dear friend Susan and her 2-year-old son, Daniel. Daniel was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in April of this year, and we hope to help alleviate some of the financial burden of treatment by petitioning readers of our blog to please consider making a financial contribution to Susan and her family by going to this website: https://www.gofundme.com/t4mdbck. Any amount is greatly appreciated. Susan keeps an incredibly well-written blog documenting her journey that you can find at http://littledanielsbigadventure.blogspot.com. Daniel is a little fighter and we wouldn’t be surprised to find him out here on the trail one day. Thank you in advance for your generosity and may you and your family stay well.