Happy Easter everyone! I hope you are as full of food and relaxed as I am!
Friday marked my last day of work for five and a half months! Everyone at work has been extremely supportive and shown great interest in my hike, and I am grateful for that. As I said my final goodbyes and drove out of the parking lot for the last time (for a while, at least), I felt a smile make it's way across my face. The prospect of living the trail life is one step closer to actually happening!
Saturday morning after I packed away the last of my belongings in a storage unit, finished cleaning my apartment, and handed over the keys, another smile spontaneously appeared. Having the last of that chore behind me was a huge relief and load off me physically (moving boxes), but more so mentally. My car was now loaded with only my hiking gear and a bag of clothes for the drive down to Mexico next week.
Leaving the apartment complex for the last time, I made my way to I-5 South and drove from Washington to Oregon. As I crossed the bridge a bittersweet thought hit me that made me smile once again; that sudden realization being, the next time I am in Washington will be when I hike across the Bridge of the Gods in August... all the way from Mexico!
The last day of work, giving up my apartment, and crossing the state line by themselves are not all that impressive or cause for excitement, however, when you add them all together they mean more to me than just the simple acts themselves. I am giving up my place in "normal society" for what many upstanding members of society might consider a strange and unproductive way of living. Hiking and camping along the trail will become my new lifestyle. I will not have a day job. I will not have an income. I will not have a stationary place to call home. I will not have a washing machine, dishwasher, electricity, heating/cooling, and all the other many things that make life "easy and comfortable." I am now officially jobless (kinda), homeless, and proud to admit it! As another PCT hiker from Portland said, we will be turtles, carrying our shelter (amongst other things) on our backs. And the trail will be our home!
This weekend has been great in many other ways too. Friday night East County (running group) in Vancouver threw a little going away party with pizza, ice cream, and games! Both games led to lots of laughs and I will miss moments like that while on the trail. I wish them all the best of luck in the Eugene half-marathon! Saturday I was able to hang out with a few Portland friends, enjoying the sun at a park, then going for happy hour at Papa Hayden's on 23rd. Probably one of the best places to sit along the sidewalk and people watch in Portland, especially if you want to experience, what I can only assume are, the latest trends in fashion (and uncomfortable clothes). Today the Easter bunny came bearing a basket full of peanut butter, trail mix, dried fruit, and Lipton sides! That's what the Easter bunny brought to your house, right? Following that I got all dressed up (for the last time in a while) for brunch at Oswego Lake CC with my parents, aunt, uncle, and cousins. Everything was delicious and I was encouraged to eat as much as possible for the trail, so I happily obliged. In the evening we all went out to Gresham for our weekly Sunday dinner trip to spend time with Grandpa Gene, and even had a little Easter egg hunt to round out the day! Overall I can say that it has been a great last weekend in WA/OR.
Tomorrow begins the road trip from Portland to Mexico during which we will be visiting more friends and relatives! Let the adventure begin!