I remember sitting like I am now, a few feet away from a monument, journal in hand. Then I was looking north, knowing that somewhere in the far distance lay that monument’s twin on the Canadian border. It was so far away. Now I am there and I look south and wonder how I ever arrived.
The journey feels distant and close at the same time. So distant, so close. I think about the airline losing my pack, the beauty of the Sierras, the heat of the desert. I think about lightning storms, dancing on volcanoes, and watching the sun set behind Rainier. The images come back rich and deep, but I know they are memories now. Flimsy things that fade to make room for the next.
I don’t want them to fade. I’ve lived a thousand adventures on this journey. I can tell a thousand stories that no one would believe. But I want more.
Now it is all over.
This is a beautiful spot, the monument. A line of cleared timber and little silver obelisk with the number 78 on it mark the border. The place is filled with dreams. We have to fold them away and leave them behind. It hurts badly, so very badly. It hurts the way it should hurt. The pain lets me know the beauty. The trail is over. I cannot believe it, but the trail is over and it hurts.