It rained all night. I woke up wet and almost bailed early out Wildcat Trailhead because it was cold, raining, and muddy. I didn’t bail though, and I’m glad. I enjoyed the 17 mile day, though pushed hard to maximize my hitching options and managed finish hiking by 1pm. Wet muddy trail the entire way made the walking treacherous and labor-intensive. I thought with all this rain the backcountry would be empty, but by the time I made it to Kolob Canyons I was seeing lots of people. It was very beautiful there, even in the rain. The mist-shrouded desert was beautiful, massive rock walls emerging from the fog like ships prows. In the rain the desert seemed vulnerable, in that way any of us are vulnerable when we receive something we need. I felt honored to be in that place at that time, wet, covered in mud, in the same clouds as the rocks and trees.
The last steps are the same as the first or any other at the end of the day. It isn’t any individual step that carries great significance. Rather, it’s the steps taken together that tell a story that matters, the way no single drop of water makes a river but all the water, in the context of place and time, together tell the river’s story. The end came slowly, slower because I was quite tired. Climbing, waiting, climbing, waiting then there it is, the trailhead, the end, another moment in the continuum of time. The denouement of a thruhike isn’t any one moment, rather the accumulation of all them that, taken together, simply mean you did it.
I chatted with some people at the trailhead then stuck out my thumb and instantly got a ride to Springdale. I got a motel room and a half rack of ribs. A hot shower. My room covered in drying plastics. End end end. The end is a delicate moment. I’m caring for it, stewarding it, being cared for by it.
I found out I won a Subway permit that I applied for, so you get another blog post. I fly home in two days, two days to hike around Zion. So glad to be dry, warm, alive. In this moment of time.