I am sitting in the airport hotel lobby drinking beer and watching the planes at SFO land. The last farewells are said. Today to my fantastic local support crews. Bob & Maryann and Alun and Madhuri.
Stayed the night at Bob and Maryann’s, and recorded the best sleep score ever. And achieved a body battery of 100%. Did I tell you that my Garmin watch is running my life? Arrived late last night. Another delayed flight. This morning I tidied all my gear, packed, prior to that Bob made me omelette and coffee. As Merete said, they are treating me too nicely for my own good! (She thinks I need more suffering :-)). And that’s even when they are self-quarantining in preparation for Bob’s big sailing competition to Hawaii…
After packing I went for a run to see if a couple of kilos lighter, a few weeks of high altitude and a few hundred miles of hiking made any difference. Heart rate 15-20 beats lower than normal, +6 in garmin performance score. And felt like I could run a marathon. Sweet! Too bad it will not last. Ran the Adobe Creek Loop (everything here is named after some huge corporations!) with pelicans, seagulls, a hare and planes landing at Palo Alto airport (where I would fly with John). Madhuri and Alun finally caught up with me on bicycles at the end. Heading back there was an unmarked underpass under highway 101. Arrows in flour, that looked like something the Hash House Harriers could do. The path ended in a big locked wiregate. With a sign stating that trespassing would be prosecuted. We climbed over and lifted the bicycles over the side of the fence as well. According to green card holder Madhuri it was the most illegal thing she had ever done in the US. :-)
Then Maryann took me for lunch. I hung the clothes she had washed. OMG, I am spoiled. Had a nap, and sat out in the bonsai tree garden eating cherries. And oranges directly from their orange tree! Now that’s exotic for someone from Norway.
Then Maryann was kind enough to take me (or is it bring?) to the airport hotel. Where I am plane spotting.
As this trip has come to an earlier end than planned. Have I learnt anything? I certainly don’t feel the not finishing tge PCT as a failure. I think I got what I wanted out of the experience (even though I didn’t know what that was going in). I did not think any deep thoughts. It seems like hiking all day turns your brain to mush. I was more in the moment. Thinking about the next water source, if feet were OK, if this looked like bear or rattlesnake terrain. If that is mindfulness, I have most definitely been mindful.
I have understood how important my family, my kids and my wife is to me.
This was also a break from work. Where I might have postponed some critical decisions awaiting this trip. For me it’s important to work on stuff where I can at less pretend there’s an illusion of contributing to a better world. I need to make some changes when I get back to see to that. (Writing middleboxes that not only violate all Internet architecture principles, but also is used by corporations to spy on their employees might nit be that. :-))
I am borderline introvert. I like people, but not too many at the same time. So why is it that the most valuable and memorable I am left with from this trip are all the encounters I had with such fantastic people? There is something about Americans and how easily the communicate with strangers. Perhaps I as a white Norwegian male (everyone has a Scandinavian great great father) I got a warmer welcome? Certainly shared hardship played a part when becoming friends with people on the trail. I also think, that I traveling alone made me more open to other people. Perhaps I am just a friendly likeable guy? Which would be cool, since I have certainly spent enough time in my life not liking myself. Anyhow, I have met nany people on this trip. Every single encounter has been positive and thought me something and I have been left energized. Not one negative interaction, not one bad word. You can say what you want about this country, but I am humbled. Very humbled.
I am quite an emotional type. Apart from missing family. I have not been frustrated. I have not been annoyed or angry, or felt any other negative emotions. For a month. Perhaps that’s what the fear if being attacked by rattlesnakes, bears, mountain lions or ex-cops do to you.
It’s been a ride. Thank you so much to all the people I have met. And thank you so much for reading.