5 trail months

I’m so extremely tired, and so in need of sleep, but I’m having such intense thoughts and emotions about reaching the end of the trail that I wanted to share them.

Today my mind felt as if it entered the real world, had a quick look around, and then retreated back into trail life, with the real world remnants still lingering. I suddenly realised just how quick this will be over, just how immediate re-entry will be, and just how fast this ‘real’ world can burst the magical bubble I’ve been living in for the past 5 months.

The days of waking up each morning to the sun rising behind the mountains will become a memory. Boiling water outside my tent for coffee as I stay snuggled in my sleeping bag for as long as possible will no longer be. Watching squirrels darting across the trail, birds soaring above, clouds forming in magical patterns and the stars shining above my head at night will be back in another land. The PCT symbols wedged on tree trunks giving you reassurance that you’re on track, reminding you of where you are and how far you’ve come, will be waiting for the thru hikers of 2014. The dream is almost over, but the magic will live on.

The urge to beat the weather and the end of my visa have pushed me quickly through the first 150 miles of this beautiful state. I’ve enjoyed so many moments already (except the super steep ups and downs), and I know there are still many to come over the next 350 miles; but I am suddenly struck with the feeling that I still have so many things I want to do/think/feel out here, and time is running out.

Wasn’t I meant to figure out what I want to do in life? I can’t even figure out what I’m doing the day I enter the real world. Where will I live? Where will I work? What will I do? What do I want to do? I’ve had 5 months to come up with these answers and I still haven’t put my finger on them.

I have learned so many things about myself, other people, nature, wildlife and the world. I almost feel like I’ll need to walk another 2650 miles just to make sense of it all. It’s been hard to truly process all of the events which have taken place over the last 5 months. Complications mixed with ultimate simplicity, drama and emotions mixed with pure joy. Isolation and unfamiliar places, versus congregations with new and old faces.

One big difference between the trail and the world outside the trail is time. Out here time is yours. You decide how to use it and how to share it. You can almost control how fast and how slow it goes. Out there (in the real world), we don’t always own our own time. We’re dictated, controlled by, and forced to share so much of it, we sometimes find ourselves left with nothing. Time is a gift, time should be savoured, but most importantly time should be used wisely.

So from tomorrow onwards I’m going to ensure I savour every sunrise, every cup of coffee, every sight and sound of the trail. I’m going to hold onto this time while it’s still mine, until my foot crosses the border and I’m finally forced to let it go.


17 thoughts on “5 trail months

  1. Hello MukMuk, thanks for continuing your so nice postings from WA State. It is great for me to be able to read them from the comfort of my house or my office 🙂 What you said about time is spot on. To find out what works out best for oneself, in relation with time, takes err…time. And sometimes (hehe), even if you find out what the right balance should be for you, it’s not easy to comply with work and other obligations. Maybe one can at least try to reach this balance, and find solutions. Take care, and I send you loads of fresh hugs from west coast of Norway 🙂

  2. Hey Aunti Ro, i was thinking the other day….what happens at the end? Is there a group of people cheering you or some crazy finish line you walk over. It could be a Forest Gump type moment like when just decided to stop running….id love to know the thought that goes through your head when you realise in 1 more step it’s finished.

  3. Will you Finish, Yes. Will your hike be over, yes, but maybe not forever. But the journey is only just begun! Continue to live your dreams, where ever they take you, only you know what they are. No reason you have to go back to the rat race, your much better off with out it. Your a young, strong, brave, intelligent woman, the world is yours!

    Keep Hiking!

  4. As my husband told another PCT thru hiker recently, to…
    “Embrace the trail you’re hiking on”.

    As you prepare to re-enter the “real” world… Remember that your life is your life just like your hike is your hike. The choices are up to you ! So embrace each day and whatever options it offers.

    Perhapes from walking all these miles, enjoying rare sunrises and finding contentment in your precious cups of hot coffee…you have gained enough faith in yourself to smile through whatever path you find yourself on in life.

    Never “settle” for less than what makes you happy.

    I would hire you in a heartbeat, if given the chance !! Wanna live in Alaska for a while ?

    Carry on and enjoy today !


  5. Rozanne, I maintain a website with stories and photos from the PCT . . . (www.pcttrailsidereader.com). I would love to post your entry “5 Months on the Trail” (and, perhaps, “On the Knife’s Edge) on the website with your permission. Don’t rush through Washington too quickly as it really is my favorite part of the trail (especially from Glacier Peak on north).

    Rees Hughes

  6. Hi darling, The “Real” world at the moment for you is the nature, which you are experiencing in such a fabulous way. The “Real” world you are coming into again can satisfy some of your dreams too. Time is not running out, you can always do, think and feel where ever you are, it may not be as peaceful. For re-charging you can always go back into the world of nature. All those questions of , where will I life, work, what will I do and want to do? Time will tell !!! You are a child of the world and where ever things will take you, you are the one who chooses that. Have your dreams and keep dreaming. Stay safe for the rest of the trail.
    Love Mutti xxoo

    • Although this story has been concludedfor some time, i am coming late to the party and have been spending my cold winter nights reading this wonderful tale and enjoying the comments as well. I feel that this particular observation is very wise. Muk you are so lucky to have such a perceptive mother. Congratulations and best wishes to the both of you.

  7. We have all enjoyed your stories and feel lucky to have met you on the trail !!
    I’m sure you have inspired many like us along the way. Its great that you are able to enjoy the moment and cherish it. We just finished another short section of the PCT took us five nights including the hike to the PCT, you would have finished it in one day. Some that speed through the PCT don’t really see the PCT, but you are seeing and feeling it and it will always be with you. Wishing you the best for the rest of this journey, you go girl!!!!

    Ann & the Tahoe Tramper ladies.

    • Thanks Ann, I love that you ladies have the time to soak up the trail as much as you do! What a magical place! Lots of love to you all x

  8. It’s been awesome sharing this journey with you. You’ve made a difference in people’s lives by sharing with us. Continue to make that difference as you move on after this journey.

  9. If you could continue to blog your “‘re-entry” and adjustment to life off the trail, you serve multiple purposes: processing your own transition, continuing to teach that life is full of stages we must adapt to, and allowing all of us to “hold on” to Muk Muk and her dream just a bit longer. I’m sure you’ll have timely words of wisdom I might continue to share with my students. Hoping all works out you could visit my schools, and yet not wanting your PCT experience to end. We’ll all suffer your absence!!

    • Thanks Judi, I was chatting with Tim the other day at Snoqualmie Pass about documenting my re-entry into the ‘real world’. I think it’s an important component to capture, just like all of the preparation before the hike! Plus it means I can keep writing for a little longer too! Both UB and I are absolutely up for the school visits so we look forward to coordinating this with you post hike!

      • Yay!!! I have to tell you the students keep asking about you, wanting updates…in fact today they were demanding to be the first of my 3 schools you visit ( of course your schedule will dictate how many we’ll visit!) You must bring your toy Muk Muk. You are down to your final days; stay focused on your finish, hoping for sunshine to clear all that rain. Right, left, right, left……

  10. Wow Roxanne, That is so beautifully written, once again, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your “journey”. That deep joy & contentment you feel can be yours off the trail too, so as you “study & contemplate” the next adventure of your life, listen to what makes your feel this way, and so be guided.
    The challenge you’ve undertaken & accomplished has changed you forever, and the clarity & direction run deep.
    Thought you might appreciate this singer / songwriter, as he has a beautiful way of including nature & the outdoor forces into his music, (and he lives in Seattle), http://www.michaeltomlinson.com/. @ of them, So Alive, and All is Clear strike a cord with me especially.
    You’ve truly inspired many of us, so thanks once again.

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