Posted on: Saturday November 19, 2016 Pacific Crest Trail Travel

This post was written in my sleeping bag at the end of a long day. Please excuse any errors.


The bus from Manning Park leaves at 2am. We arrive, groggy and disorientated in Vancouver. We sit at a Tim Hortons, drinking awful coffee, waiting for the city to wake up. And then it is a whirlwind of activity. We buy deodorant, clothes, and then before I know it, I’m waving goodbye to Shake’nBake as he gets into a taxi for the airport. Suddenly, I am alone on a busy city street, my last connection to the trail gone.


The next few days are tough as I try to adjust. I explore Vancouver, ducking into Stanley Park to sit under the massive trees whenever everything gets too overwhelming. I walk out to Granville Island and explore the market, sit in coffee shops for hours and watch float planes taxi past the waterfront. after Then, I take the train down to Seattle. Mike, one of my favourite people on the Grand Canyon trip, meets me at the station. He and his wife Wendy have graciously offered to let me stay with them for a few days on the Kitsap Peninsula. He shows me around Seattle as we wait for the ferry. Walking through Pikes Place Market, I see a familiar puffy jacket in front of me. It’s Bear Bait and Legit! I haven’t seen them since Cascade Locks and I am so excited to see some trail family! We catch up in the middle of the market, and then it is time to go. after I crash hard once we get to Mike and Wendy’s, but by the morning, I am ready to go hiking! But first, a favor. I hide in the woods by Mike’s house, ducking behind a fallen tree, dew soaking into my trail runners. Five minutes pass, and then I hear crashing through the bushes. A yellow lab stops in front of me, staring at this strange person hiding from her, before running back to get her handler. It’s Sahalee the search and rescue dog! after Once Sahalee has found Mike too, we load up and head to the mountains. Mt. Ellinor rises steeply and I breathe hard. I’m not used to anything apart from PCT grade now. There is a dusting of snow as we get higher and higher, until finally, we pop out from the clouds onto the summit. after The next day, we head to Olympic National Park. We hike down towards the beach, and stroll along the sand barefoot. Sea stacks rise in the distance. Then, back to the house, where we fullfill one of my most urgent on trail fantasies and curl up on the couch under blankets to watch a movie. after I say goodbye to Mike and Wendy and head back to the big city for a few days. I meet Turtle, a friend from camp, who I haven’t seen in years. She has two beautiful daughters now, and we watch them run around the Children’s Museum. I’m exhausted by the overstimulation after the quiet trail, but it is so good to catch up. after Before I head back to Anchorage, I have one last person I see. A/V posts on facebook that he’s been forced off the trail by snow and is in Seattle. I meet him for dinner and a beer. He’s so fresh off the trail whereas it’s been almost two weeks for me and I suddenly miss the trail so much it hurts. I haven’t seen him since Tahoe, and we swap stories. after Then, I’m back in Anchorage and it’s a whirlwind of trying to adjust to ordinary life. Within three days, I have a house with eight roommates. Within two weeks, a part time job and a second one just a little later. I get to know my roommates- we go hiking, biking, climbing, running. after It’s easy to slip back into the stress of ordinary life, but I try and remember what the trail taught me. Live in the moment. Spend time with the people (and dogs) you care about. Don’t stess about things until they happen. Keep moving. Always keep moving. after And when it gets too much, I plan my next adventure. The CDT is calling my name. I pour over maps, plan what gear I need to replace. In just five long months, I can be back on the trail again. after after after after after

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Eloise Robbins (Fun Size)

About the Author

Eloise Robbins (Fun Size) is a writer, triple crown thru hiker, and adventurer. She is a lover of the outdoors, hiking, canoeing, and most of all mountains.

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