When we began our trek in March, Noelle’s sisters were cleaning up hers dads house, holding an estate sale, and then moving him from Louisiana to an assisted living facility in Washington. It was a stressful way for Noelle to begin the trek.

Today, as I write this blog post, we’re in the beginning stages of helping my parents make the difficult transition from independent living to an assisted living facility. We’re operating in a crisis mode, so there’s boatloads of stress and anxiety for everyone.

We spent a little over a week with my parents in Colorado. We were about 24 hours away from heading to California to resume hiking when both my sister and dad made contact requesting immediate assistance. Off to Colorado we went, hiker clothes included. Doctor visits, physical rehab, social workers, assisted living facility touring…It was incredibly stressful and busy. We left one of my brothers onsite, a second brother waiting in the wings to travel to my folks and a local sister. Our “returning”goal was to rest at Noelle’s sisters house in Washington for a day and then return to the trail in California.

During our flights home from Colorado to Washington we learned that Noelle’s dad was heading into the hospital the day after our return for a heart procedure. After a week of high stress with my parents I don’t think either of us were quite prepared to be thrust into another high stress situation. It was a quiet flight home.

So now we wait. The heart procedure was delayed by a few days. I’m watching the weather at the California trail location where I want to resume hiking. Snow is in the forecast. The extremely narrow weather window is beginning to close for the season. Time is running out, or has already run out, for a thru-hike completion this season.

If I attempt to finish my thru-hike I’ll be leaving the entire next steps of my parents transition to my siblings. I feel a strong desire to be there to support my parents in this difficult time, but I also want to try to finish this thru-hike. What a mixed bag!

Social media is tough for me right now. We’re subscribed to a bucket load of PCT hiker groups and the continual images of finishers are a little painful. I want to be out there hiking.

So our current goal is to see Noelle’s dad through his surgery and then leave for the trail the following day if he’s doing ok.

Finishing the entire trail this year seems like a pipe dream at this point in time. The time off trail right now is simply devastating for scheduling due to the weather. I regret the delays in trying to finish the trail this year, but I don’t regret the delays in regards to being with our parents.

Snow is falling in the Sierra. Snow is falling in Washington and hikers have been quitting just a few days short of the Canadian border.

I’m not sure how many more miles I can actually hike before the weather shuts down the hiking season for good, but I’m going to try to reel in just a few more miles.

So come on, whatya say, wanna go for broke and hike just a tiny bit more? I’ve got a little more gas in the tank…so perhaps, just perhaps, this trek isn’t quite finished just yet.

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