Today was a joyous day, a day for skipping down the trail while singing Bon Jovi: I am, in fact, halfway there. Halfway to Canada.
The halfway monument sits at mile 1320.7. It's not quite the halfway point anymore—Halfmile, the gentleman who maintains the most up-to-date PCT mapsets, suggests it's at mile 1325.1—but it's still quite a feat to get there. Hikers cheered as I arrived, and I joined in, spreading the love to the hikers who came after me.
It's so strange to know that most of the trail is behind me. There's a strange tension now between trying to make miles—I'm trying to do 30-mile days when I'm not going into town—and wanting to enjoy myself, take my time, see the sights. I'm definitely enjoying being able to make miles; there were times, hundreds of miles past, where I would struggle to do 18 miles in a day, but today I hiked 33.4 miles. Still, I'm a bit wistful about all the things I know I'm missing.
One of those things is my trail family. Most of them took more zeroes than I did in South Lake Tahoe, and now the bulk of them are somewhere behind me. I've got one of them with me, and it's been a lot of fun, but it's different being a duo than it is rolling with a group. I text them sometimes, fill them in on trail angel or town information.I hope they're hale and hearty, doing well.
My long day has made me pensive, curled up in my sleeping bag, mostly to try to get away from how my body feels. Everything hurts like it did in those first few days, throbbing from my hips down to my toes. There's also the hint of some actual pain in my knees, which is disheartening. The specter of injury is looming, and I'm concerned that today's mileage will set me back tomorrow, the next day, or maybe even weeks down the line.
There's no way to know, though, so I've done all the damage control that I can: taken ibuprofen, stretched, rolled my legs out with a tennis ball, and propped my feet up on my backpack for the evening. I just need them to hold out another 1300 or so miles, and, after getting to Canada, I'll give them the rest they've earned.