Missing the PCT

PCT Washington

Noelle here:

I’m greatly missing the Pacific Crest Trail today.

PCT Northern Monument
Northern terminus

I’m missing the peace, the friendships, the physical hardness, the mountains, lakes, valleys. I’m missing all of it.

PCT sign post
Snoqualmie area most difficult trail

It’s been stressful and chaotic since we’ve been back in “regular” life. We’ve still been away from our kids and grandchildren even while being surrounded with family in Colorado. No trail, yet no children. There’ve been too many sleepless nights, worrying about things and possibilities that are beyond our control. Worrying about outcomes that may or may not ever come to fruition. Rabbit trails that lead to more rabbit trails. It’s been harder than I could have imagined. Steve has borne the heaviest weight. And yet he bears it with grace and determination and love.

Today I’m yearning for nature.

I’m missing trees and being dirty and that long footpath, which showed us so much adventure. Sunrises and sunsets.

Sunset on a lake

The beauty and the pain.

PCT hikers
Dirty legs

The trail didn’t end for me as I thought it would. Purchasing the van changed so much. But I’ll be forever grateful for the experiences and the time with Steve. For the perseverance I saw in him. Still see in him. My admiration for Steve continues to grow. As does my desire to get back out in the wilderness.

Sunset over the mountains


  1. BIll Kingman

    Longing, one symptom of peak-experience blues. Every hiker gets it, some more than others. The cure is making a grand plan then taking action. The world is a very big place full of wild views and wonderful people waiting meet you. Go!

    • mcgarveysan

      We’ve got a pocket full of frequent flier miles and two one way tickets to our next adventure. T-23 days!

    • mcgarveysan

      Yes! We’re just about ready to find a few new places and friendly folks!

  2. Rosiewalker

    Go ahead sleep in the van……

  3. Anonymous

    Life is hard. Living in limbo makes it harder.

    “Dying is easy, young man. Living is harder”
    ― Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: The Revolution

    This reminds me of being pregnant – the good thing about being pregnant is that you will not be pregnant forever (although at times it feels that way) – the bad thing about being pregnant is that you will not be pregnant forever (one way or another you will have to endure childbirth). The only way out is through (Yuck, I know! Too visceral?). Be brave. You are stronger than you think. You can’t go back to a prior time, but Nature is everywhere. You are in Colorado – climb a mountain or get outside and walk around the block. You don’t need to dedicate a huge block of time to rejuvenate your soul.

  4. Gregory Fast

    As the time passes, the memory will fade and the longing will be less acute until you will wonder if it was real or are you just romanticizing it. It was real. Experiences like yours, leave one forever changed and unable to return to
    previous lives.

    • mcgarveysan

      So very true, Gregory. It came to such an abrupt halt having to come to Colorado, that it makes it even more difficult to wrap my head around. We’re kind of in this limbo place in life. I’m very thankful we can be here for Steve’s parents, but those mountains…they keep calling…
      Hugs to you and Kathleen.

  5. VFat

    Hard to believe we’d romanticize a smell (Oh that aroma! And mine was only four days old]

    Do it again. Or spend winter in a yurt on the SW Washington coast.

    • mcgarveysan

      I know, right?! How could I miss that smell!
      Maybe CDT? Or Camino de Santiago? Winter in a yurt on OUR coast…um, maybe not…rain, damp, cold, sigh. 😂

    • mcgarveysan

      “Do it again…”. Well, now that you mention it…

  6. Anonymous

    New challenges, new adventures await. Have faith. ♥️ You and Steve are proven warriors. Together you will get through these trials. Being away from our children and grandchildren is difficult especially during the holiday season. Take care of each other
    Blessings and hugs
    Liz from FresnoRetro

    • mcgarveysan

      Thank you Liz. It’s such a rough time for Steve’s parents, who are also proven warriors. We continue to learn so much from them. We’re trying our best to take care of each other. Big hugs back to you. ❤️



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