I made the rash decision at 5:30 A.M. to come home for a few days. I had mountain top internet service and found a possible route if I hurried along. A little highway walk to the bus station to the 3:35 Sacramento train to San Jose, and I would be in my baby's arms by dinner time. Out of the 70 passengers on board, it's only natural that 3 happened to be my relatives! Sure, it was a little embarrassing bumping into aunt Brenda smelling to high heavens with my six pack of Bud Light under arm, but it was an absolute delight to see family just hours after waking up on a slab of rock!
What I thought would only be a few days off trail turned into five. It was surreal, like I time traveled right back to my old life. I was surrounded with amazing company and had a wonderful time. Oh, how I missed those Original Joe's meatballs and the luxury of a warm bed. I didn't experience the culture shock so much, but definitely noticed some changes... like my acute hearing abilities. Chris laughed when I asked if he could bring me two tums, as I heard the plastic bottle opening in the bathroom down the hall.
I bumped into an old friend at Trials, the go-to pub on 1st street, who asked, "aren't you cheating, coming home like this in the middle of your trip?" Well, perhaps some hikers view it as such, but I don't really think of my PCT experience as a game or a race. I'm hiking a trail... an extremely intense long distance trail across the country. I'm doing this for myself. As Nadia so truthfully reminds me, the book has already been written, thousands of hikers have done this before me. I'm finding my own unique way across country and nobody's going to stop me, even if it includes a few extra Sunday morning Bloody Mary's along the way.
Now, would I recommend a hiker head home for a week in the middle of their trip? Hell no! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get back on? It was more difficult than day one. I lost all my momentum; exhausted and homesick. My yawns now take three breaths. Chris drove me to the trail and we car camped atop Carson's Pass. It was so nice showing him what I've been up to these past months. We counted 5 shooting stars, the most we've seen together in our entire relationship. As he was leaving the parking lot early the next morning, he rolled down the window and said the most painful words, "do you want to come home?" Of course I want to come home... But I can't. Not yet. I'm so close and have come so far. I just can't.
I have no regrets. This is my little adventure and if I made it a bit more difficult my stopping home, I know it sure was worth it to be close to the love of my life, even for just one second.