Bushcamp (1997.5) to Rockpile Lake (2022.2)
It was still dark when I woke in the morning. I was camped in a thickly wooded forest and at sometime overnight the cloud enveloped my campsite. So it was that I found myself hiking through the clouds for the first hours in the morning till I reached a place where my resupply box, new boots and water filter would be waiting for me. I arrived at Big Lake Youth Camp I saw both Hummingbird and KC. I was so surprised and happy to see them again, I suspected they were many miles ahead of me. I have hiked almost half the trail with these girls. But I was also sad that I was not joined by my other long term hiking partners Mr & Mrs Smith and Teflon. But then I could say that about many other hikers that I’ve bonded with on the trip. I do hope I meet some of my hiking friends again.
I left the youth camp around 11am wearing my new shoes. Oh so comfortable. I crossed the busy highway 20 after waiting maybe 5 minutes for a small break in the traffic. Even then I still had to run across. The trail then climbed a hill where I discovered that I had just hiked 2000 miles. I just hiked 2000 miles. That’s insane. I took the photo, actually many photos. A short way afterwards there was another 2000 miles marker. There was also a 2003 mile marker! I didn’t take a photo of that one. The mist had been rolling in and out all day. When walking along the side of a scree slope on Three Finger Jack mountain I spied 5 Mountain Goats high up near the clouds. My first mountain goats for the hike. Surprisingly I had cell phone service so sat for a while answering messages till I became so cold my fingers lacked the dexterity to type. I had to get moving to warm up. Camp was reached at 8.30pm. It was dark. Hummingbird and KC joined me.
One thing that surprised me, in a good way, about hiking this trail has been the people I’ve met on the trail. I started this trail alone, I was happy to hike alone. I could say I was fortunate to meet lots of great people to hike with and share the trail with but I think luck has little to do with it. There’s a lot of great people out here. For a bunch of dirty, smelly, homeless looking people we all share something in common. We all suffer, go hungry, overeat in trail town, get cold or hot but still we choose to be out here hiking. A lot of things don’t seem to matter out here. It doesn’t matter what age we are, what our jobs are, how much money we have or don’t have. There is no social status out here. It’s unlike normal society. I know that there are people reading this who have friends or family hiking this trail. There are others reading this that dream and may plan to hike this trail in the future. Just know that out here on the trail, we are all enjoying what it has to offer.