It was 4am Sunday morning when I started up the Clydesdale to leave Cascade Locks, OR. All the hikers were still a snooze in their tents while others dreamed sweet dreams in their vans. All the movement, music, laughter, conversations, and smiles were gone during this early morning time; everything was still and quiet.
As I drove down Wa Na Pa Street heading out of town, I felt as if I were a thief. I was stealing thousands of deliciously sweet moments of time, happy memories of the most amazing interactions with truly good people. This feeling of euphoria could sustain me forever if I could just bottle up.
I was buoyed by the energy of PCT Days and all the kindness and happiness I both received and witnessed there. Smiling hiker faces plagued my mind and I tried to match the faces to the trail names as I followed the yellow blazes on the asphalt.
As the sun rose, the miles grew between myself and Cascade Locks, and the hours passed. I tried to hold on to PCT Days as long as I could, knowing eventually I would have to let it go. I thought about the hikers in the early afternoon enjoying a trail magic hotdogs provided by the Ale House, hikers throwing out thumbs to hitch back to other sections of trail and those who simply were hiking outta town. The last of the vendors would be breaking down tents and packing up gear and visiting hikers like myself just out to enjoy this special event, would all be driving back home.
This one weekend brought all of our worlds together and for a brief time, we immersed ourselves in our common passions of hiking, backpacking, long-distance trails, and specifically the Pacific Crest Trail. The pang of bittersweet struck me knowing that a lot of those kind faces I met and talked to over the weekend I would never see again but I recognized the lasting impression they each had left on me. Other faces would return to Cascade Locks as they did last year and the year before during the phenomenon of PCT Days.
The drive was long but finally when we arrived eighteen hours later to our destination, even when I ripped off my event wrist bands and even when I started to wash off the hiker smells and dirt from my body in the shower, PCT Days lingered within me. I could still feel the bubble of excitement, the feeling of raw energy, happiness, kindness, humbleness, that only the hiking community can show. This gift that was bestowed to me by so many both thru-hikers and visiting hikers, I would carry with me and treasure until next year, until that magical weekend happens again.
Timberline Trail Diaries Will Start Next Week!
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My Book: Mini Misadventures
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