The End of Washington
Bittersweet … that’s the best word that comes to mind.
Completing Washington on my SOBO thru-hike was a bittersweet moment.
It took me 32 days, with 2 zero days sprinkled in between, to walk the 500+ miles and cross the Bridge of the Gods. I dreamt about it every day.
I kept telling myself things like, “one foot in front of the other; tackle this hill.. one step at a time; take your time; hike your hike; go slow over the down trees; well, I guess I’m going under these downed trees; how the hell am I supposed to go around; the trail is under there somewhere; damn mosquitoes; breathe; oh great, another hill; seriously, another %#$ hill; does this state ever end!?”
Washington is NO joke! I won’t even lie and say that I was optimistic all the time. I wasn’t. I doubted my sanity. To be perfectly real, I had frequent moments where I doubted I could do it.
The thought of hitting my SOS button and ending my hike was (sadly) an enticing option, and there was actually a moment, in a section where literally an avalanche had taken down a large section of the forest, I rolled down, about 20 feet, “off trail”… only grabbing ahold of tree roots to stop me from going further.
The people that tell you they dust themselves off and eagerly get back up are liars. Maybe some do. Me, I cried. Then I cried out for someone (as if they could have helped me). Of course, no on was there. The hill was so steep that no one could have safely helped me; even an SOS helicopter wouldn’t have been able to land. That’s when it hit me… and it sums up my entire Washington experience and is even a metaphor for the trail itself:
A thru-hike is all your own. No one is going to do this for you…. It’s you vs. nature. It’s you vs. your body. It’s you vs. your mind.
I am out here willingly. I decided to do this hike. I decided to go southbound (I thought I was cute, walking home…geesh). Even with hiking with people at different times, the hike is still and always your own.
Yet, there I was, approaching the Bridge of Gods and walking across into OR. It was impossible not to get emotional. I had done it! I completed the fun-house that is Washington-state!
I had walked 500 miles. That song came into my head. I’ve deemed it the official SOBO PCT Washington song.
BTW: if you want to contribute songs to my collaborative Spotify playlist, please feel free to add them HERE.
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