Pacific Crest: Mile 315

I watched the mountains pass below me, my cheek pressed against the window like a little kid on his first flight. The trail was down there somewhere, snaking its way north.

I wore my blue plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up to my elbows and my beat up shorts that were already ripping at the seam. I’d have to sew them soon or I’d end up naked. A few days earlier, I wore them under my graduation robe–a personalized Superman costume under my otherwise uniform, Clark Kent appearance. It seemed only right to wear them together. I wear both experiences, why not the clothes.

They were still on me yesterday as I packed everything I own into a disaster of boxes, bags, and trunks. A stream of things flowed out my apartment, draining it until my small, blue backpack waited alone in an empty room.

Three years of my life barely fit into three cars. The next four months fit into a single backpack. How little we all need in the end.

I’m not naive enough to believe that my pack held everything. I’ll need more food, water, and replacement gear, but it was close.

Think of all the little things that collect themselves in your life. Stashed on a shelf, piled in a corner, lost in a closet. They are hundreds of tiny anchors holding you in place until one day you can’t move at all. If freedom is movement, freedom is having everything in a single bag.

I arrived in Los Angeles just as the sun was setting. My roommate Jonathan picked me up and drove me back to the trail where I’d left. Mile 313.1, Highway 173.

A blue moon lit the sky. I remembered its sister hanging over the San Jacintos four weeks ago. Jonathan walked with me to take a picture next to a trail sign and we gave each other a hug. It felt like the last of a week of goodbyes. An era in my life had ended.

I started to walk him back to his car but he waved me onward.

“You can’t go backwards,” he said.

He was right. I smiled, waved goodbye, and turned North, walking alone with just the moon for company.