Having hiked 1150 miles of the PCT this year, with all the breathtaking views and arduous terrain, with the life giving mountain streams and the verdant abundance of tenacious life, with the quirky trail towns and colorful characters also walking the earth, we humbly decided to rest our weary bodies and head back home to Tampa, Florida, like a day before hurricane Ian landed.
Before the storm Ian in the Gulf developed, we were able to get some more hiking miles in southbound from Burney to Chester, CA, after finishing Oregon. Along with cooler hiking temps and fewer bugs, the scarcity, finally, of other hikers in this section was very pleasant, due to the off season timing of this part of the trail. Some recent days we barely passed another person on the trail, a true luxury. We also witnessed lots of fire burn areas from previous years, thousands of dead tree sentinels standing watch, blackened bark and limbs littering both ground and sky, which was of course depressing on its own, though also instructive at how fast other life will try and retake valuable real estate with the newly available sunlight. Change is always all around us. Frigid nights seeping down again into the 30’s along with a, at least for me, general tiredness in my bones coaxed our decision to head home for this season. Proud of the miles we’ve covered, we’ll be back to finish the other sections later; as we all say, the trail isn’t going anywhere. I feel so fortunate to have seen all I have, even though my feet still hurt.