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!