PCT DAY 119: Mile 1998- Mile 2002

Wednesday August 10, 2016: 7.6 Miles – 4 PCT miles & 3.6 at Black Butte (12.2 km)

I awoke with a heavy heart, realising that today Corky would be starting her journey home. It was not a prospect I was looking forward to. I really feel that I should be heading home with her but we have had that discussion already. So it was up and get organized for the day ahead.

We are extremely grateful to Dana and Stephen who did not hesitate to lend us a car to drive to Portland. So car packed and we set off about 8am. The closer we got, the worse I felt. When we got to departure I felt like I was abandoning Corky. With cars coming and going around us, a quick hug and kiss and I was driving away with a tears running down my cheeks. It must have looked quite heartless to leave someone on crutches on the sidewalk and drive away but that is exactly what I did.

I used my MapMe app to navigate back to Sisters and thought it was taking a route which bypassed Portland via Route 26. It was only when Mount Hood appeared and I saw signs to Timberline that I realized I really was on the scenic route. It was interesting and very dry on this side of the Cascade Mountains.

By the time I got to Sisters, Corky had emailed  to say that she was in Vancouver and was fine. I dropped the car back at the house and then walked the 3.6 miles within the Black Butte Ranch out to the highway. It was great to have a good look around the community and see some of the stunning homes.

It was about 6.40pm when I got to the highway and started hitching back to the trailhead.  Within 5 minutes a car stopped. It was a family –  Jack Rabbit, Slider, their daughter and their dog. Jack Rabbit had just completed the last section of the PCT, a  journey he began in 2009. He and Slider have also completed the Appalachian Trail and the dog has done about half of the AT. So before celebrating Jack Rabbits completion of the PCT they were restocking the water cache and removing any rubbish at the trailhead.

I started up the trail and only made about 4 miles before the light was beginning to fade. I went to sleep hoping all was well with Corky.

So many mixed emotions, it all happened so fast and mostly out of left field. I knew my ankle was not getting better but I thought it probably needed physical therapy. So today I farewelled the slice of paradise that was Black Butte Ranch. It has been a great place to start the rehabilitation. I am so grateful for this amazing gift and hope that in some way  I will be able to return the generosity.  In the morning I headed to Portland for a connecting flight to Vancouver and then Vancouver to . Sydney tonight leaving at midnight.

I was worried about leaving Hammer. Although I know he will be OK,  it’s just nice to be nearby so that, even though I was off the trail, I still felt like I was a part of it. It may be difficult to maintain that connection to trail life being back home.

It will be strange to be back not only in the real world but my old world.