Day 28! 4 weeks exactly, thats very orderly of me.
I was positioned for a second amazing sunrise of the week – that’s what I get for camping at the top of all the climbing at almost 8,000′. I listened to Nick Drake’s Pink Moon as I watched the moon set and the sun rise. What a day already!
For my last breakfast I made some Food for the Sole energy oats (coconut mango macadamia-the best flavor in my opinion) and soon as the sun was up, I was too, making my way down the last 16.2 miles on one road walk.
The hunters were out, and I found them tucked into almost every open spot they could be along the dirt road, but noted a few open spots. Kirk and some of my besties were on their way to meet me, and we would be camping out here for two more nights to have a backcountry celebration. Since I pushed hard yesterday I had a pretty easy day today, but the pain in my heel wasn’t touched by the ibprophen I had taken that morning. At least my body waited to break down until the last days of the hike. I’d probably be getting to Austin Junction before anyone else did, but that was ok. I had a date with a burger and beer, and it would probably be a good idea to let us have a moment together.
I popped out across from some Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs land where some crews were hard at work trying to put the channel of the Middle Fork of the John Day back into a more natural winding state and not the straight shot erosion-machine that it had become. Then I passed Bates State Park which was strangely empty…I figured with hunting season and good weather it would have been packed.
Then to highway 7, then to highway 26 and the end!
I officially connected my steps from the section I had hiked in August for a total of 580 miles hiked of the new Blue Mountains Trail. Is it a trail yet of it can be hiked? I was the first to start hiking it, the fourth to finish (congrats on being the first Whitney, Mike, and Naomi!)
I met Christy again and she set me up with a salad, burger, fries, and a beer. Before I even got my food Kirk showed up and ordered the same, then Brooke and Adryon rolled in. Party time! Carrie would be driving out in the morning. We hopped in the cars and we drove what I had just hiked to find one of the open spots was still open. Yes! Cue the revelry.
A few parting thoughts (I’ll probably have more in the days to come): What this hike has clarified for me is that I need nature, and I need people, and I will fight for justice for both, because what else is there? It is everything.
If anything I’ve written about on this trip resonates with you, I invite you to go outside. Find a beautiful spot. Sit, and recognize you are a part of that nature. This is your home too. We are connected, we are a part of the natural world, and pass it on. Once more of us believe and act like the rivers are our veins and the mountains our bones, we can create a more equitable place for all live on this planet.