I’m in LA! The beginning of my Pacific Crest Trail adventure. For those who don’t know, it’s a 2650 mi / 4265 km trail from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, and runs through California, Oregon and Washington.
As we got closer to the very end of the south island, we walked straight through town, keen to get it over with as soon as possible as opposed to taking the longer scenic route over the hill. The last few kilometres were slow. ‘I feel like it’s getting a bit difficult now,’ I said, and it cracked us up a lot more than it should. Then we rested, sat on the stoop even though Bluff was just moments away. When we finally walked up to the signpost, I teared up. I’d made it to Bluff.
My little world collapsed around me. I’d struggled for weeks with the exhaustion, the trailburn that crippled me physically and emotionally. I was running behind on everyone I knew, already fighting and utterly failing to catch up, and now I’d hurt myself. I wasn’t going to be able to finish the TA with my trail family. Everything I was holding onto had broken into a million pieces.
I hadn’t stopped walking since that morning, more than eleven hours earlier. I was just standing outside of a window, fumbling with my sudden shoes, when suddenly the door opened and someone shrieked my name, ‘Cosmo!’
Something was different. I felt as though something was slowly defeating me, and I couldn’t go back to being myself anymore. I wasn’t supposed to feel like this. I wasn’t supposed to feel like I was going to fall apart every time I looked at the slightest upward trail, or a rock on the ground I’d have to manoeuvre around. It wasn’t normal.
There was one other obstacle I’d have to face that day. It was the last big river crossing, and the widest crossing on the TA. One more river, at the end of this very trail. After all the rivers I had forded in the previous sections, I finally hoped to put them behind me…