I try to reserve my spiritual thoughts for my other blog, but sometimes I can’t restrain myself. Though I do love the freedom to just write whatever it is that I feel like writing. Anyway, “love is patient” is something that has been swimming in my head a lot lately. If you grew up in church, it will immediately be recognized as the beginning of 1 Corinthians 13, which defines the qualities of love. And though I’ve heard this verse quoted more times than I could count, it only recently struck me how odd “patient” is for the very first descriptor for love. Patience is a virtue hard earned through self discipline, isn’t it? I think of patience as something I need when I DON’T love something…like waiting in the grocery store line.
But to say that love IS patient — to say that is the VERY FIRST thing it is — well, that makes me see it in a new light. It will wait and endure and believe against all odds…but why? To prove something?
Ambition has patience too, but with a different agenda. It produces a different kind of driving force. Hiking has taught me a lot about both. I’m not saying the driving force of ambition is bad – but I do believe love is better.
While finishing up this last portion of Section L of the PCT (my final miles to complete all of Washington –woot woot!) I’d try to say “congratulations” to all the thru hikers I saw. And whenever they would reply back, “congratulations to you, too,” I’d feel the need to explain I was “just a section hiker.” Almost always they would correct me; “Not ‘just’…Washington is no joke!” “This has been the hardest state.” “Section hiking is even harder because you don’t have your hiker legs,” and so on. So gracious. So kind. So…well, loving.
You feel a strength from the thru hikers who have made it to the end (usually at least five months on the trail) that comes from something other than the need to accomplish a goal. I’m feeling it growing in myself too. A brand of calm and resolve and endurance I never used to have. What a beautiful thing love is. May your happy trails have the same kind of powerful, loving patience. (Daily hiking log below as always.)
Day 1: 4-ish miles from Hart’s Pass to Brown Bear TH and back. I had to do this because last time (seven years ago on my first PCT section) I had my friends drive me down to skip these miles to make my day easier…because I’m a cheater like that. But no skipping this time. I really did want to experience every step on the PCT. Love, remember? 😉
Day 2: 13.5 miles to Holman Creek Trail intersection. This is where the PNT comes in from Ross Lake and follows the PCT north until the Pasayten River Trail turn off in 13.4 more miles. (The only place they collide.) At first I was bummed I had to do an up and back instead of going into Canada as I had always imagined, but now I can count those 13.4 miles towards my PNT list too without feeling I’m double dipping.
Day 3: 10.8 miles to Hopkins Lake. This is going on my top 10 list. (See previous post.) The whole day was breath taking and none of it was too hard. Rock Pass and Woody Pass and then a 360 degree view just before descending the Devils Stairway to the lake…it was all mind blowing and something I didn’t expect because nobody talks about Section L. I think maybe they are trying to keep it a secret?
Day 4: 12.8 miles to tag the border and turn around back to the lake (with light day pack — hallelujah!) then pack up stuff and tackle that damn Devils Stairway going up this time for another 4.9 miles to camp just after Woody Pass for a total of 17.7 (ugh…almost a record, but the slackpack made it very doable.) This was the day I was told to look out for the 75 year old woman hiking alone who was confused and getting turned around. When I spoke with her the next day (Pee-Kew was her trail name) she said she’d already been out there 10 days, was minding her own bushiness, likes to be alone and “if I wanted to be rescued I’d hit my SPOT button.” She was a bona fide bad ass that I don’t think anyone needed to be worrying about. Please let me be her when I’m 75.
Day 5: 12.2 miles to a really nice spot just before heading up Windy Pass. I actually past it because it’s really hard to see until you get higher and are looking down on it. I was so thankful it still had a stream running through it, because I thought it would be dry and had lugged a bunch of water that I had not sealed properly and therefore didn’t have anymore. Sheesh, not the first time I’ve done that. You’d think I’d learn.
Day 6: 7.1 back to Hart’s Pass. I brought a grill and coolers full of hot dogs and Coke and I finally got to do trail magic which was a blast. “Sausage” (who ate FOUR…a fitting trail name obviously) had just finished and needed a ride so I got to be a trail angel too. I absolutely loved hearing his stories and he made the drive home go so fast. I’m sad it’s over, but I know there are plenty more trails around to be loved.