The end is so near! Too near! Too soon!
The day should have been a piece of cake, climb up Jay Peak, stay at Laura Woodward and walk out the following day – it wasn’t. The climb up Jay Peak was great. At this point and on days before, Paul and I would walk apart from one another and meet up at camp. At Jay Peak, I was able to soak it all in by myself, which was admittedly nice. There were several day-hikers and people coming up via the gondola, asking me if I was out for the night. I thought about it all. Here I am, sitting atop the final peak of the Long Trail. THE FINAL PEAK OF THE LONG TRAIL. And yet the end still seemed so far away, I still could not believe that in a matter of one day I would walk out. I thought about what it all meant to me. And in that moment I realized, the best feeling about it was knowing that I didn’t do it alone. I didn’t have any sherpas but there were so many people along the way that helped me get there. Those who led me on my first backpack, individuals that gave me advice whether locals or outfitters that helped me successfully get through all my solo hiking. But more so, it was my friends who supported me each step of the way and inspired me to believe in myself.
About a half hour later, Paul’s silhouette coming up the mountain came into view. In a bit we were happily skipping down the ski trail, watching for the turnoff that would take us back into the forest. We missed it. And we ended up walking to the base of Jay Peak and camping out on the side of one of the trail, in a tree covered area. But before that, we ate dinner and two ice cream sandwiches and a cookie at the restaurant at the mountain’s base. We fit in pretty well with the golf crowd. Our check read, “Hiker’s at Bar.” Too bad the server took it back…
In the tent, I still could not believe that tomorrow the Long Trail would be over.