I haven’t even taken my first trip to Washington, and I’m already considering a retrip later this year. There are parts of the Washington section of the Pacific Coast Trail that seem perfect for a fall saunter, and I’m not sure I want to wait another year to set foot on the trail. (Perfect because of weather. Perfect because of available water. Not having to carry as much water as in the desert would make a trek so much easier.)
By having to cut my trip short and come back before Memorial Day (I promised my dance teacher I’d try to be back to do a belly dance performance at the local college, the same place where I destroyed my arm), I will miss out on a second Washington backpacking trip. The original plan was a night or two in the wilderness to make sure it’s what I want to do, and then a longer trip the following week for a wilder adventure. It’s that second trip I still want to take, so if I head back to Washington in the fall, I will get another chance at a “supported” hike.
Presently, because I live not far from the trail, I could take a taxi to the nearest trailhead (assuming, of course, I could get a taxi to take me out that far) and then with no further ado, just start hiking. Not that I want to hike with anyone, but heading out like that on a backpacking trip seems sad. And lonely. (I have to laugh at myself sometimes — I talk about a 2,700 mile hike, and yet balk at a hike that barely makes a blip on the PCT map.)
On the other hand, if I take a train up to Washington, maybe my sister and brother-in-law would be willing to drive me to the trail and even walk a mile or so with me. And meet me at road junctions with food resupply boxes. And pick me up at the end or even in the middle if I have difficulties. (The scariest part of any long hike is the hitchhiking that seems so much a part of the culture. Eek.)
I’d still have plenty of time to do the King’s Canyon National Park trip with my friend who’d be flying in from Texas. We’d get together before or after Washington (since besides lots of trees, she wants to see snow covered mountains, after would make more sense, but either way would work). Which gives me two adventures to plan for! Well, three since I still haven’t taken my May trip.
I feel like such an armchair traveler, talking about things I’m not yet doing. I have to remind myself that I have done things — two months of day hikes in Northern California, a twelve-thousand-mile cross-country trip. But those things now seem long in the past, and one day, these trips (or the planning, anyway) will also be long in the past.
Meantime, there is today. I just got back from five miles in the desert (dripping wet, and not from rain but from the heat and carrying twenty-six pounds), so I better go eat or else I won’t have the strength to go anywhere.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Unfinished, Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.