Day One Hundred Four

Today's miles: 0
Total miles: 2155

I woke up in the comfort of my own bed, something I have been craving for months now, and discovered that I didn't sleep very well without my sleeping bag and pad. Apparently real mattresses are too comfortable, now.

I went out into the living room and found Sunshine and Treekiller already awake. The three of us got ready and went on errands all morning, visiting REI, Home Depot, and the best hiker grocery store ever: WinCo. Treekiller and Sunshine had never been to a WinCo, and they were blown away by the bulk food section and the bargain prices. It was a hiker wonderland.
After stocking up with resupply (our next section would be a full seven days to White Pass, WA) we came home and made lunch.

We had learned a few days ago that Treekiller likes to make gourmet cheesecakes in his spare time (when he's not hiking 2,650 miles, that is) and so he brought home all the fixin's for a Key Lime Pie cheesecake. The dessert needed to chill in the fridge for a few hours, so while we waited we watched Star Trek.

Sunshine, since his feet were still bothering him, called a local pediatrist and I took him to the appointment later that afternoon. As we left the house, Treekiller was watching some Miley Cyrus movie on Netflix, and I pointed accusingly at him, saying,
"If this movie is still on when I get home, I'm taking away your man card!"
When I got back from dropping Sunshine off, Treekiller was watching The Expendables.
"Way to go to the complete opposite end of the spectrum," I laughed.
"Had to keep my man card intact," he insisted.

We hung out at home and after Tanner got home from work at 2:00, I went back to pick up Sunshine from the doctor's.
"What did he say?" I asked nervously. For an hour I had been contemplating hiking a trail that didn't include Sunshine on it, and I didn't like the thought.
"It wasn't as bad as I anticipated," he replied, "but it's still not great. He's a great doctor though; his whole office is covered in medals and certificates for marathons, Ironman's and triathlons that he has raced, so he understands my need to finish this hike. I guess the tendons and ligaments around my ankle are stretched, which is what makes them painful, and he thinks the trail running shoes I'm wearing contribute to it. So he told me to ice them daily, buy good, ankle-high hiking boots and good insoles, and take at least a week off the trail to let them heal."
"A week," I repeated, letting it sink in. "That's not so bad, right? And then you're coming back?"
"Yeah, so I've been talking to Honey Bunny on the phone," said Sunshine. "She's coming back from her wedding pretty soon and she wants to meet back up with us on trail. So I figured it'll take you guys a week to walk to White Pass, and by then, the two of us can meet you up there."
"That sounds like a good plan," I agreed.
When we got home Sunshine repeated the plan to Treekiller and Tanner, and both Tanner and I offered to let Sunshine stay at our house for the week while he recovered.
We ate TK's delicious cheesecake while we mulled over the news, watching TV and enjoying a lazy afternoon.

Being home made me reminisce back to my days in the Sierras, when Katie and I would tell stories about Portland to Sansei, Rotisserie and Papa Bear, promising to take them to all our favorite spots when we finally got to town. Back then Portland had seemed like a lifetime away, but now that we were here, our old friends seemed even further.
Missing them, I wrote Rotisserie a text message asking where they were. I had been trying to keep in touch with them over the weeks, but it seemed they had slowed their pace down and were always a few days behind us.
Rotisserie wrote back saying they were a good 100 miles behind, which was at least four days of walking. She and Sansei were taking a few days off in Eugene to visit Sansei's friends, and so they would likely fall even more behind with a few zero days in store. When I asked about Papa Bear, they said they hadn't seen him in a few weeks and guessed he was still a few days behind them.
"Are you going to Trail Days?" Sansei wrote me.
Trail Days was an event put on by the PCT in Cascade Locks every year with vendors, speakers, and movies to share with current and past thru-hikers. I had heard it was a social event, mostly beneficial for past thru-hikers to reconnect with old friends. The event was next weekend, which made it too far in the future for us to wait around in Cascade Locks for.
"Sorry, we'll be halfway to White Pass by then," I admitted.
"We're going to try to hitch up there for the event and then hitch back," Sansei said. "You should come!"
As great as it sounded to see Rotisserie and Sansei again, I couldn't justify taking a whole week off here when we were so close to the end. I realized, however, that with only 500 miles left to hike, there was a good chance that all our old friends wouldn't catch us by the border. Rotisserie, Sansei, Papa Bear, Focus, Dance Party, Games, Reason, etc were all still behind us.... the people we were hiking with now were the ones we'd stick with until the end, but it hurt my heart to think of never seeing my other friends again. It had always been a foregone conclusion that we would bump into them - after all, no one said goodbye on the PCT, we said see you up the trail! because inevitably, you reunite with old friends in the most unexpected of places. But with the trail so close to the end... who could promise that would happen anymore? It was heartbreaking.

At 7:00 Jason and Elizabeth came over with rum and cokes and we ate cheesecake and the six of us played a round of Cranium together before turning in for bed.