Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 152-Broken Bridges

 From the field at mile 2509 to campsite on the ridge at mile 2530

Views of smoke
At sunset we have two miles left to hike-half of that up hill. Portrait was reading to me as we hiked because I was miserable and slow and he was bored trailing along behind me (and at heart he is a Fastie). 

A broken bridge upstream from the new bridge
Canada feels oily. We hike, getting closer, but we don't make enough progress. Our finish date keeps sliding away from me. Days ago we had ten days left and we still have ten days left even though we hiked passed the 2500 mile mark and caught up with Bukket and Cheese this morning. By evening it doesn't feel like I've made it anywhere.

Another broken bridge, but usable 
I am weary. Portrait did the math earlier in the day and by the time we hike to Stehekin my tendons will have hurt for 520 miles. By Manning Park in Canada it will be 606 miles. As I climb upward the sky is streaked with pink around the snowy stone giants across the valley and I wonder how I'll look back on Washington. Portrait said I'll remember it as painful, and I'm sure that will color my memories. More than painful I think I'll remember how disappointed I was in myself. How everyday I fell short of our goal and pushed town and Canada one day further away I felt failure. I'll remember not feeling any joy at a firery red sunset. I will think of Advil and how my happiness depended on how much I took and when.

As we hike into dusk my head throbs with the pressure not to cry. Portrait remarks how lovely the area is and I say nothing. Each time I catch a glimpse of the trail winding its way upward I want to sit down and close my eyes and just stay there.
Glacier Peak

We pass some snow at what I think is the top of the climb-many miles ago it seems that Portrait told me I had only .6 left to climb. It is not the top and I finally stop, dejected next to a flat sandy campsite that I know I can't have. It is beautiful here: sparse trees, snow patches cling in depressions, the huckleberry bushes are that lovely shade of red, the view of mountains around us is impressive, and above it all the moon is a thumb nail crescent in the darkening sky.  When Portrait asks if I want to stay there I burst into tears while saying I want to go home. But of course I don't want to go home.  I want to enjoy hiking again.  I want to have fun, I want to be wowed by the views, and happy at the end of the day and to look forward to the next day. 


  1. Hang in there -you have more courage than you know! Carol

  2. Your blog will help you remember the sights, even if you don't think so now. Great idea to write all your emotions--the good and the painful. It'll come in handy for the next hike.