Boundary

The last few days happened the way they should. Love walked with me, in the form of Craig, and in the form of everyone. In the form of Glacier being in me, while I’m finally within those boundaries. Though, I always was.

It snowed on the first day of our trip out, and after enough walking in the elements it got to that, “hmmmmm, I hope we’re alright” place. Craig was a trooper, high-spirited and tolerant. I thought it was appropriate that he got to see what this trail holds. Which is an edge. A place where you wonder. A place where it’s up to you to make decisions and find a balance of not underestimating them, but not losing your faith in yourself. A place where I never dreamed I’d spend so much time alone, and now I wonder when I get to go back.

Craig being a champ in the snow at 50 Mountain

Craig at 50 Mountain

After a shivery evening walk, we pitched our tent and made dinner. It was warm in the cold. Warm because of him, warm because of how I’ve learned to survive, warm because it always is. I don’t mean to seem over-charmed, but I can’t help it. I look around at all of us when we’re shivering and I think about how lucky we are to feel these things.

The next day was dryer, and it took us no time to make it to Goat Haunt. We had lunch by the shore and I tried to suppress the fear. Tried to understand why my body was hesitating to move past that point. The last 4 miles of Glacier where the biggest thing on my mind. I had hiked every bit of trail in the park, barring the last 4 of the CDT. A perfectly ridiculous thing to do. Me, in a nut shell. Then combining that with it being the end of the trail this summer, which felt more like the end of 3 trails, which felt more like the focus of my life for the last 4 years. It’s too much. Too big of a moment. I didn’t know how to handle it. I sort of still don’t.

Craig was there. Grateful to share it all and chomping at the bit to get there with me, for me. We stashed our stuff at Goat Haunt and ran for it! Which was perfect. Don’t think about it, just do it! There was the boundary trail junction first. Which meant my last step on new-to-me Glacier trail. I stopped to acknowledge it, thought about 14-year-old me, gazing at Bowman Lake and realizing that something was changed forever. I thought about 27-year-old me, sitting on the log last summer wondering what I would feel if I should be so lucky as to walk here from Mexico on some September day in 2015. I thought about the .9 miles to go. Wonder if two things that big should ever be that close together, and a third big thing hugging me close to his chest. I’m surprised I didn’t burst into flames.

We ran on. Had a moment with a raging stream, and soon enough, there it was! The border-line. That ominous clearing in the trees. My stomach turned and shoulders tightened and I reacted as though I had seen a ghost. We ran on, anyway. Just around the bend, I saw the terminus. I sprinted for it.

Then I just stood there. Looked around and took it in. It was hard to pick out anything. I mean, here you are, here it is. How is any reaction going to do it justice. We hung out there for a while. We sat next to each other with our backs against the spire, holding hands and looking south. I looked with all of me. Heard myself telling those epic peaks that I did it, but I still don’t understand. They said, “Yes.”  That’s what adventure has taught me.

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The illusion of trying to understand things has always been my downfall.  “You can’t lose what was never yours. You can’t win, cause it’s not a game. You don’t get to go around closing doors, because my darling, we’re the same.”

So I had a good cry, on Craig’s shoulder, and thought of it as all of ours. Because it is.

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And…..that’s the end, but I don’t suppose I believe in endings anymore.

Thank you. For the love, always.

Worth It

Worth it?

How can I even talk about this?

Worth the time? The steps? The discomfort? I guess I’m not sure what you mean.

Yesterday, I stood waist deep in Grinnell Lake, fully clothed, in the icy rain. I ran into it. I laughed, and yipped like a coyote. I did it because I couldn’t help it. I wanted to know how it felt.

It’s worth it to me to spend days in the elements, for the gratitude it gives me. I want to get rocked, that’s what I’m after.

It’s worth it to me to design my life around these adventures. It’s worth every penny I earn, and then some.

Oh, the things which are worth it to me!

Exposure. As internal as it is external. From the inside out.

If I didn’t stand like I do, if I didn’t put it all out there, if I didn’t grin at the clouds that roll in, I’d be someone else.

So, “worth it” is not a question that makes sense.

I don’t make sense.

How I’m able to stand here, with my feet firmly planted on the ground, and my head in the clouds, is something I’ve given up trying to understand. I supposed that puts my heart everywhere. Which is just right.

Sometimes We’re On Fire

It’s the home stretch, my friends. Two hours ago I crossed into East Glacier, MT. I’m ecstatic to be here.

Getting here was interesting. From Helena, it was a 2 1/2 day walk to the town of Lincoln, MT. I met a nice hiker, Tom from Israel, and the company was nice, as it was a rough walk. There was some thick smoke everywhere. Extremely limited visibility and a little tough on the lungs. Meanwhile, I was paying no attention to the water situation and Tom was. Little did I know there was a 30 mile stretch about to happen, with no water sources. Even with Tom’s advisory, it was still one of the thirstiest days I’ve ever had. Chalk it up to the fact that smoke makes us thirsty.

When we got into Lincoln, and ate our weight in junk food, we got news from hikers ahead that the Bob Marshall Wilderness was 100% closed. No one in! That means a 113 mile road walk from Augusta, MT into East Glacier. We hitched ahead to join the group, Stabby and Banjo were there. As well as Rafiki and a few new hikers I hadn’t met. And thus began a different kind of adventure, road walking.

It’s been surprisingly fun. A lot of inside jokes and games have emerged. A lot of locals in small-town Montana have wonder what the hell we are doing. A nice couple, Micah and Jo, took us in in Choteau. That’s an amazing gesture, considering there are 8 of us.

Although it’s a way different style than I’m used to, I’m grateful for it. Lots of laughs. I didn’t anticipate how much it was going to mean to me to come into Glacier with the view from the plains either. Just like the first time I saw it 14 years ago, when it changed my life forever. Here I am today, more in love with it than before. If you ever want to love your home more, I recommend spending a whole summer journeying toward it. I’m here now. And the fires are subsiding, and the trail just opened back up today.

Home at last!

Home at last!

Love.