One Hundred Ten: 1,874.8km

Daunting?

What was I thinking?!

What was I worried about?

Being back on trail feels like being back at home.

Even in new shoes* (which I was semi-worried about after my La Sportiva debacle), I floated down the path like it was an afternoon stroll. No blisters yet. Cross your fingers with me, folks.

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Have you ever gone to a dinner party where you need to leave a good impression? With your significant other’s parents, for example. Maybe a boss. Oh, or how about as a first date?

You have to dress nice. Be polite and courteous; perhaps crack a few jokes, trying to break the ice. You’re aware of how you present yourself and how they’re judging you, to the point where you’re basically on edge all night and can’t enjoy yourself. It’s just not a comfortable setting.

But, then!

You get home. You kick off your shoes, unbutton your pants or take off that dress, and slide into a trusty old pair of pyjamas instead. Pour yourself a nice big glass of red – or tea – curl up on the couch with a soft, worn in blanket and let the pressure of that dinner party melt away like the dark chocolate chunks you’re nibbling on.

Okay maybe it’s just me who’s done that…

But, still!

I’m sure you can imagine what I mean.

And that feeling of sinking into your lounge with some wine and chocolate is how I felt today.

The smell of car exhaust and noises of traffic gave way to the smell of pine needles and earth, and noises around me became owls hooting and running creeks. I was within earshot of water every step I took.

Washington has a magic to it.

Everything within me feels awake, alive. Ready to explore this magic further, and be surrounded by it for the foreseeable future.

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Four minutes into walking, I realised I hadn’t taken an ‘official’ picture of our turning around point. But four minutes of walking was too far for me to backtrack. And we still had glimpses of the road, so I broke off trail to snap a quick picture there instead: Highway 20.

One day I’ll come and walk 113 kilometres north from the other side of this road, to finally complete my entire thru hike and touch the northern terminus.

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It’s still pretty disappointing to have come so close without the gratification of that Canadian border. We’re SO close, but now I’m walking away from Canada instead of towards it, and I don’t know when/if I’ll have the chance to come back for those last few miles.

It is what it is, though. God knows what’s best, and this path was laid out for me long before I started walking on it.

Whatever happens, I know I’m in the right place today.

If I don’t get back to the border this season, so be it. Such is life: it doesn’t always work out how I’d planned, but it absolutely always works out.

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*So, we all know the La Sportiva Akyras didn’t work for me – remember when they put me out of action coming into Hikertown? After those, I went with the Altra trend and swapped into Superiors, which I got 1,000km out of … I just never loved them. They worked okay, but you won’t ever hear me rave about them. I think the zero drop^ is a bit too much for me; it’s totally personal preference, and mine is to have that drop. This time, I opted for Topo Terraventures. For my fellow gear nerds, these ones have a 3mm drop, so it’s still quite small – it just feels more natural to me, and seems to a better fitting arch support. We’ll see how much I still love them a week from now hey!

^This is referring to the drop (or lack thereof) in the sole of your shoe from your heel to toe – most shoes are around the 10mm mark, but Altras lower the heel so that your foot sits flat; parallel to the ground. The consensus is that the flatness of the show resembles how are feet are created, and therefore gives a more natural fit. Works for a lot of people, don’t get me wrong – they’re just not for me.

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