Total Miles: 3,011
Past Frankfurt, Germany – November 26, 2016
It happened in the heart of Frankfurt, somewhere between staring up at the tall buildings of steel and glass and getting glared at by a white-haired lady on the sidewalk for no reason at all. It’s just steps, one after another, steps between the first bakery I stopped in and the overcrowded grocery store at the south end of the city, steps between taking pictures of strange pink pipes running through a plaza and snapping a selfie with a monument to the Euro, steps from Kinnarodden to Frankfurt that would have brought me to Waterton Lake on the Canadian border at the end of the Continental Divide Trail.
Three thousand miles.
I count the months in my head, end of April at the Mexican border, middle of September touching Canada. It’s taken me an extra twenty days this time. Maybe it was the hard terrain in Norway. Maybe it was the difference between walking into the expanding days of summer instead of the shrinking days of winter. Maybe it’s not fearing that the next snowstorm is hanging over me, ready to slice away the end. Maybe I’m just older and not as strong. Or maybe it’s knowing that this is not the end, that this is Frankfurt, not Waterton Lake, that I have so many more steps to go, that I can’t arrive here thin and worn out, that tomorrow I’ll have to wake up and walk again.
I’ll walk the next day too and the next and the next and at least a hundred after that. Maybe that cost me the extra twenty days. But today it doesn’t matter, today I just took another step, and another, and kept walking until Frankfurt faded away behind me, the light disappeared, and I closed my eyes to rest for tomorrow.
I drifted off thinking of Waterton, of sitting alone by that monument at the border, of the sunshine and blue skies overhead, of reading back through my journal, reading back through the three-thousand miles between Mexico and Canada.
“Now you’ve gone farther than that,” I told myself. “Farther than you’ve ever gone before.”