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.