PCT: the smell of wet dogs

Noelle here:

We woke up at our mostly normal time between 5:30 and 6. The rain was still pouring so we closed our eyes again. Around 9, it seemed dry enough to start packing up.

We donned our wet clothes from yesterday amid a fair amount of squeals and laughter from both! Rain came in the tent last night so now even our sleeping bags are wet.

My shoulder and back are so dang sore that Steve helped me get my pack on. He’s definitely my hero. We went down the trail to the next place it crossed over Hwy 2. It was a road hike for us because the trail is closed to preserve the environment for some endangered toads.

First car that came our way, we stuck out thumbs. They gave us a ride for a couple miles. Literally rolling down all the windows and holding their hands to their noses. They were quite glad for us to get out.

I know how we smelled. Like wet dogs! 🤣

A few minutes later another car came. He pulled right over for us too. A man about our age and his 85 year old dad! They’d gone for a hike already and were heading home. He took us to the only business within twenty miles, a restaurant with hiker friendly owners. AND he bought us a beer!

We enjoyed talking with him for a while. He didn’t mind our smell! ❤️

Then we chatted with Danielle, who may be the restaurant owner? We weren’t sure. She was a God-send. I said it was my last day on trail and she right away started saying how amazing I’d done and how not a lot of people hike 400 miles and who knows maybe I’d come back to it sometime. Then she said they’d get us a ride to the Shell station where we’d have cell service and could get an Uber.

We had no idea the Shell station was 27 miles away!

We did get a ride from an amazing woman who worked at the restaurant and her dog, Whinny. Whinny literally smells better than us! We’re dry after a couple hours but still have the eau de wet dog! 😂

They weren’t even planning to go into town, but took us anyway! What a gift.

I’m not sure what’s next. Emotionally, I don’t want to quit the trail but I am trying to be wise enough to listen to my body. This has taken a toll, even while it has definitely made me stronger. My shoulder is yowling at me almost non stop. Now my back. I’m incredibly proud of myself for coming this far. I’m incredibly proud of Steve for continuing to kick ass out here. I told him today he’s like a gazelle…a somewhat clumsy one, but a gazelle nonetheless!

18 thoughts on “PCT: the smell of wet dogs

  1. CAROL KRAJEWSKI May 20, 2019 — 6:06 am

    Soooooooooooo very proud of you both! It’s an honor and blessing to know you <3

    1. Thanks Carol. Right back at ya! ❤️💕❤️

  2. Liz from Fresno Retro May 20, 2019 — 7:26 am

    So proud of you both. Your courage, strength, determination, tenacity and spirit are truly inspiring. Noelle, you are truly a warrior!!❤️

    Liz from Fresno Retro

    1. Thanks Liz! Your comments warm our hearts! 🥰

  3. Sherry and Don May 20, 2019 — 8:28 am

    Noelle, you are amazing! I can’t believe you even started this journey and I know I couldn’t have accomplished what you have. I am so proud of your achievements and Steve’s too. Cheer him on for a while from a comfortable place while you contemplate what is next. As for us, we’ll be setting up our tent at the Grand Canyon tonight. Reading your blog has given me courage for the rain, wind and snow that is expected this week. For now we are waiting out some hail in a warm coffee shop before the last 1.5 hours to the campground. I’m looking forward to the next time we meet, whenever that is. Sherry and Don

    1. Thanks Sherry! I’ve seen some of your pictures. So beautiful there. We got to go to the Grand Canyon a couple years back! It had been on my bucket list for ages. Waiting out hail in a warm coffee shop is the right way to go! 😁❤️

  4. Heidi Halverson May 20, 2019 — 9:27 am

    NOOOOOOOOO! I’m not disappointed in you, I’m just upset. Rooting so hard for you both. I want this for you guys. Here’s what I said to my friend a few of years ago when he undertook the Ironman. He trained well, did the swim and made it part way through the bike part before throwing in the towel on a too hot Sept afternoon. I said that Life is an endurance sport and you are doing great at life so don’t be so defeated by the small bumps in the the road. And for the record I believe you can do it, both of you. Maybe not today, right now, but you can do it. You just need to believe in yourself and really, really want it. Then it will happen. My friend did repeat the ironman and succeeded the second year he tried. There are no failures in life, just lessons learned.

    As for the aches and pains: take ibuprofen, ice up your sore parts at rest stops where you have ice. And use aspercreme (aka arthritis cream) it works like a poultice to infuse sore tissue with aspirin. It might work by placebo effect, but it has helped me. Icy hot is also very helpful to recover in the moment.


    1. Thanks Heidi! I’m guessing my “Nooooo” was every bit as loud as yours! 😏 We’re learning what our bodies are & aren’t capable of, as a starter! It’s quite a wild ride!

  5. Soon the emotion of change will be calmed by warm hugs from family. Well done hiker trash! Be proud of your accomplishments!

    1. Thanks Bill. In a couple days we get to see some friends down here, not quite our kids/parents but I am certainly looking forward to familiar faces and hugs!!!

      Your reference to me still getting to be called hiker trash brought a tear to my eye!

      💕 Noelle

  6. You are both incredible! You undoubtably have incredible pictures to frame to remind you of your adventure and time together! So proud of you both!

    1. Thank you so much! ☺️

  7. Steve n Noelle, Kudos on an amazing fete that most folks just dream about. We are so proud of you and the amazing accomplishments of your journey. This trip has made you wiser and stronger to begin the first step of your next adventure. Love and prayers for your continued safety. Mom n Dad

    1. Love you guys so much! 🥰

  8. Good job! No shame in coming back later for some more when your ready. Our family has been working on it a section at a time the past 3 hiking seasons and have about 450 miles left to complete. Might finish this summer or might not. Will see.
    Press on!
    justMike and the crew.

    1. Thanks justMike! We’ll keep on keeping on!

  9. It’s really hard (I know from experience) to accept that our bodies can’t do what we want them to JUST because we want them to – the way they used to! Good for you for listening to your body and respecting its needs. May you rest and heal and come back to hike again!!

    1. Thank you, Briget! It’s not easy to age gracefully, so I guess I’m just aging! 🤣. It is hard to accept that the old body doesn’t cooperate like it used to!

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